Parmigiano Reggiano Butternut and Asparagus Risotto

This easy-to-make vegetarian risotto has the most wonderful flavour and texture – thanks to using plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano!

  • Preparation Time20 mins
  • Cooking Time50 mins
  • Serves4
2 Vegetable stock cubes
1 Bay leaf
1 tbsp. Olive oil
15g Butter
300g Risotto rice (Arborio or carnaroli)
200g Butternut squash (weighed when prepared), chopped into 1cm cubes
200ml Dry white wine
1 Bunch spring onions, chopped
100g Fine asparagus, trimmed and chopped
100g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano Reggiano shavings and basil leaves, to garnish


  1. Prepare the stock. Pour 1 litre boiling water into a saucepan. Crumble in the stock cubes. Add the bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes.     
  2. In a large frying pan or flameproof casserole dish, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the rice and butternut squash sauté gently over a low heat, stirring often, until the rice looks translucent. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on it and don’t allow it to brown.     
  3. Pour the white wine into the rice, tipping it all in at once. Let it bubble up, then allow it to settle and cook gently until absorbed, stirring frequently.     
  4. Stir in the spring onions.      
  5. Cook over a low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Don’t allow the rice or vegetables to brown. Ladle about one quarter of the hot stock into the rice, then simmer gently until absorbed. It’s really important that you cook the rice slowly, so that it gradually becomes tender all the way through. And don’t be tempted to stir all the time – it’s not necessary and can break down the rice grains too much to give a stodgy texture.     
  6. Keep ladling in the hot stock as soon as the last ladleful has been absorbed. From the time you start adding it, the rice will cook in 20-25 minutes.      
  7. Add the asparagus spears when you’ve been cooking the rice for 12-15 minutes. It’s good if the asparagus just retains a little ‘bite’, though add earlier if the stalks are quite thick, or chop them into smaller pieces.     
  8. Taste the rice from time to time to check when it’s tender. As soon as it is, add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and stir it through.      
  9. Share the risotto between 4 warm plates and serve topped with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings and basil leaves.

Cook’s tips: Remember to always stir the risotto gently, not vigorously - it’s one of the secrets to its success. Make use of the rind from the Parmigiano Reggiano – if you add a chunk with the stock it will impart extra flavour to the risotto.