Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto


Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto is creamy and delicious. Elegant and fool-proof, too!

echo, echo, ECHO… HAP-py New Year!

(horns blow, confetti falls, smooches abound, etc., etc.)

Hi there! How was your New Years? Ben and I had a wonderful dinner at Alba on New Years Eve – Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Chive Gnocchi, and Salted Caramel Creme Brulee for her / Beet Salad, Seared Scallops, and Chocolate Lava Cake for him (!!) – then rang in the new year buried in a floor fort at home.

I had developed somewhat of a stomachache before dinner (which clearly wasn’t bad enough to stop me from eating every last morsel of food on my plate(s)), which unfortunately got worse afterwards. So, instead of hopping over to our friend’s shindig, we layered a bunch of blankets on the living room floor, built a fire, and counted down with Times Square at 11pm. I dozed until 11:58, acknowledged the start of the new year in the Midwest, then went to bed. I ROCK!

Poor Ben.

Yesterday I felt much better though, and kicked 2013 off with a rejuvenating trip to the gym, followed by enjoying my family’s annual pork and sauerkraut lunch, for good luck in the new year. Long story involving the Pennsylvania Dutch. Football rounded out the rest of the day. Hopefully the Midwest can represent a bit better at the bowl games next year, right? Iowa State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois…come on guys!!

Anyways, it’s back to the grind today! Isn’t it crazy to think, just like that, the holidays are over? The sparkle and shine have all been put away, and it’s Spring Break we’ve all got to look forward to now. Ben and I just booked a fun and fancy little trip for April. Can’t wait to tell you about it!

Oh boy. Take a day off from blogging and this is what you get – a rambling blogger.

Anywho, I made a special recipe for you guys today. For whatever reason, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been bombarded with risotto recipes. They seem to be popping up everywhere, and Ben and I ordered risotto three times while in DC. Well, technically he ordered it, and then I ate it off his plate. Aka we ordered it.

In the past I have been uber-intimidated by risotto. All that stirring? Constantly having to pay attention? Did I mention all that stirring??

All the risotto we’ve had over the past couple of weeks have been really, really – I mean really – delicious though, so I decided to put myself up to the challenge of making it at home. The verdict?

The rumors are partway true – yes, there is stirring involved, about 20 minutes total, but NO, this is NOT a fussy, watch-like-a-hawk dish. It’s actually kind of foolproof, provided you don’t walk away to, I don’t know, clean the garage or something while you’re in the middle of making it. In plain English – it’s pretty simple!

Not to mention, Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto is mouthwatering. Creamy, and chewy with just a hint of parmesan cheese. It’s so elegant, and really, all you have to do is stir!

Start the Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto by heating 2-1/2 cups chicken broth in a small saucepan. You’ll be ladling it into the rice, and don’t want to add cold or room temperature broth as it would bring the cooking temp of the rice down. Bring the broth to a boil then turn the heat down to low.

Meanwhile, saute 2 Tablespoons onion or shallot in 1 Tablespoon butter until translucent, then stir in 1 cup gluten-free arborio rice. 

Arborio rice is a short grain rice that releases a lot of starch as it’s stirred and cooked, which results in a fabulously creamy risotto.

Next add 1/4 cup dry white wine to the rice then stir until nearly absorbed. I used pinot grigio, which added just a touch of wine-y flavor.

Next start ladling in the chicken broth about 1/2 cup at a time. Add the broth, then stir gently and constantly until the broth is nearly absorbed. Again, this is not HARD, and if you walk away to put a dish in the dishwasher, IT’S OK. Just do your best to stand there and stir like a robot.

My advice? Crank some tunes to help pass the time! I went through 5 or 6 songs while making this entire dish. (FYI, as much as I love me some Hakuna Matata, the Disney songs are for my nephew.) ;)

When you’ve got about 3 ladlefuls left, add 1/2 cup chopped asparagus and continue stirring as normal.

When there’s one ladleful left, add 10 jumbo-sized shrimp then stir until they’re cooked and pink.

I used about 2-1/2 cups chicken broth total. You might need a bit more or less. Just taste the rice and see how the texture is coming along. If it’s tender and chewy – you’re good. If it’s chewy but with a hard center, add more (hot) broth. When the rice is nice and tender, stir in 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.  

Season with salt and pepper then you’re done!

See – that was pretty simple!

Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Serves 2


Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto is creamy and delicious. Elegant and fool-proof, too!


  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth (may not need all)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons minced onion or shallot
  • 3/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 1/2 cup chopped asparagus
  • 10 jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper


  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep hot.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat then add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice then stir to coat in butter. Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed by rice. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to pan and stir continuously until broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until nearly absorbed before adding more.
  3. When there's about 3 additions of broth left, add asparagus pieces and continue stirring. When there's 2 additions of broth left, add shrimp and continue stirring. Taste rice and determine if you will need to use all 2-1/2 cups broth to get the rice to a chewy-tender consistency.
  4. To finish, stir in parmesan cheese then add pepper and salt to taste.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

As I mentioned, this dish tastes simply elegant. If you really want to impress someone, even if it’s just your cat, whip up a batch of this risotto!

The creamy rice and shrimp give the risotto substance, too. I was totally full and satisfied after eating a big ‘ol bowl of it.

Let me know if risotto makes ya’ sweat, too, and if you give this recipe a try. I HIGHLY recommend!

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  1. Yumm this looks great! Do you need to use arborio rice, or would regular short-grain brown rice work?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.03.2013

      I’m not sure, actually! I tried this type of cooking method with quinoa once and it did not work at. all., so I’d hate to tell you it would work and then have the rice not cook!

    • Noelle 01.03.2013

      Hey Chelsea! Sorry to stick my nose in here, but I just wanted to let you know that I was cooking brown rice once, and I sauteed it first with some butter and onion, and then I added chicken broth and cooked it just like you normally would…and I’ll be darned, but it came out creamy and dreamy and just like risotto! Sauteing it first must have brought out the starch. Then I just sprinkled in fresh Parmesan. Try it and see…it’ll be delicious no matter what!

  2. Erin 01.02.2013

    okay, so minus the fact that i am not a food blogger, i feel like i could have written this post. this is my favorite way to eat risotto. and girl, that creme brulee at alba is amazing! my husband lived about two blocks from there when he was in des moines for work and i made us get dessert there all the time.

  3. I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog! I am originally from Iowa and was delighted to find and follow your site. Happy New Year!

  4. Brianne 01.02.2013

    OMG I TOTALLY shy away from risottos, too, because of how slow and tedious they seem to be. But you’ve inspired me to try a lot of recipes (and ingredients) that have scared me off before, so I will definitely give this a go! Good tip about the music, too. Music makes everything go by faster!

  5. Brianne 01.02.2013

    Also wanted to mention: when I was in Chicago, I had a delicious (!!) butternut squash risotto. It was ah-MA-zing!!

  6. I’ve made risotto a couple of times – far and few between – and when I do, I never regret it! I even made it with beer once (a la, amaazing. I have trouble coming up with flavor combos, though…I never would have thought of asparagus and shrimp!!

  7. julia 01.02.2013

    happy new year kristin!


  8. Juliette 01.02.2013

    M. Stewart’s website has an oven-baked risotto recipe that involves no tedious stirring and the result is consistently fabulous. Mix up ingredients, bake it for a while and VOILA! – you have delicious, creamy risotto.

  9. Looks so yummy. Your kitchen must have smelled heavenly. I love it when I cook certain foods and the whole house smells wonderful.

  10. The recently saw a recipe from Ellie Krieger for a black rice risotto. I was looking for something to do with black rice after I bought some in the the bulk bins. I chickened out and it’s still sitting in my pantry. So if you figure out how to cook black rice let me know m’kay?

  11. Kristen 01.02.2013

    sounds great! As I’m a veg again, I’ll use “no-chicken” broth and leave off the shrimp. Will get supplies this weekend. Sounds perfect for our chilly nights!

  12. Kate 01.02.2013

    As a HUGE Northwestern fan, I have to say that we represented the Midwest well yesterday…first bowl win since 1949. Go Cats!!!

  13. Brittney 01.02.2013

    I had a pretty good edamame risotto at Mojo’s in Johnston (RIP) and then an AMAZING champagne risotto with arugula, brie & pear at our honeymoon in Cancun last month. The only way it could have gotten better was maybe a bit of whisper thin prosciutto on top.

  14. Lauren 01.02.2013

    Your NYE sounds quite similar to mine, only my stomach ace and tiredness was wine induced. :) Guess that’s what happens when you drink a bottle over a later dinner. Opps. ;) Hope you had a lovely New Year despite the fact though. Lots of love to you!

  15. Christina 01.02.2013

    I love risotto but don’t have the patience to spend 20 minutes at the stove stirring – bad things always happen when I try that. I found a recipe by Ina Garten for Easy Parmesan “Risotto” that has made me into a risotto fan. The rice and other add-ins are baked in a Dutch oven with all but 1 cup of the broth, which is stirred in at the very end with the cheese (so I spend 2 minutes stirring as opposed to 20). It’s delicious, creamy, and very friendly for the easily distracted (like me!).

  16. Carrie Lasich 01.02.2013

    Ahhhh….pork and sauerkraut. I was born in PA but grew up in the DC area, and this was an annual tradition. I lived in Iowa for awhile but never encountered anyone there who knew of the tradition. My husband is from Indi and he had never heard of it either. My entire extended family still make it every New Years Day for good luck.

  17. I have been wanting to try to make a risotto recipe, but have always been intimidated by them. This sounds simple enough, though. I would love to try making it without the shrimp and with more veggies!

  18. Katie 01.02.2013

    Looks amazing and I have everything to make it with except the asparagus, so I’m going to pop to the shop tomorrow and make this for dinner! Yum!

  19. Carmen 01.02.2013

    Three of my favorite things; rice, shrimp and asparagus! I am definitely pinning this recipe!

  20. I always like the word “Simple” in titles…I just pinned this.
    I have a simple light lobster salad on my blog now. Love getting your posts by email.

  21. Trisha 01.02.2013

    Oooh, this looks amaaaazing! I feel the same way about those bowl games. I mean really, this was our (WI) THIRD trip (in a row) to the Rose Bowl and we still couldn’t win?! I thought the third time was the charm! At any rate, Happy New Year, IGE!

  22. Thank for taking the intimidation out of risotto! I’ve yet to try my hand at making any because of the constant stirring, but this seems like a cinch :)

  23. Lillian 01.03.2013

    I love making risotto! Just a little tip, use a tea kettle to heat the broth. I find it’s easy to add in the broth to the risotto and no drips!

  24. I love making risotto – one of my favorite recipes includes butternut squash and LOTS of cheese. Asparagus and shrimp are two of my favorite foods, I’m definitely going to try out your version of risotto :)

  25. P Rex Coble 01.03.2013

    Great post Kristin. I have tried a lot of risotto recipes including those that don’t require the classic methodology you used and the while the others can turn out a nice rice dish, I’ve yet to discover one that creates what you made. Alba is certainly one of my favorite places in DSM and recommend their risotto on the lunch menu when I need the fix without wanting to fix.

  26. Linda W 01.03.2013

    Happy New Year! Let’s hear more about the “family’s annual pork and sauerkraut lunch, for good luck in the new year. Long story involving the Pennsylvania Dutch.” Sounds yummy!

    I tried making a black eyed pea with collard greens and ham dish in the crock pot for good luck. Hopefully it brings good luck even if the beans were still crunchy and we didn’t really care for the dish. This after soaking the peas for 8 hours and crock potting for almonst 12 hours!

  27. Kat Collins 01.03.2013

    I absolutely LOVE risotto! It’s such a blank canvas that you can add anything to it that you love to eat. I made a Pumpkin-Shiitake Risotto that was warm, comforting, and delicious. Risotto’s a great way to teach a person patience when cooking. :)Can’t wait to try the lighter version you made!

  28. Katie 01.03.2013

    Thanks for the recipe inspiration! I made tonight with the addition off sautéed portabello mushrooms and a full bundle of asparagus – it was a hit!

  29. A byootaful Life 01.03.2013

    […] was craving something fancy for dinner tonight and decided that Iowa Girl Eat’s yummy looking shrimp and asparagus risotto would be perfect. While I had originally dismissed the recipe as too fancy and far too hard, I […]

  30. Jessie 01.04.2013

    I’m from PA and we do this every year. The reason is “it brings good luck. With their snouts, pigs root forward, signifying progress, lore dictates, whereas chickens and turkeys scratch backward.” William Weaver, food historian who lives in Chester County, PA.

    Get a pork roast and brown on all sides. Take a bottle of room temp beer add it to a crockpot with the browned pork. Add 15 whole pepper corns. Leave in the crockpot all day – was in by 9:00 am and we ate at 5:30 pm. My husband had it on high for 1 1/2 hours and then low for the rest of the time. It fell right off the bone.

    The sauerkraut was from the bag and heated on the stove and we also had mashed potatoes…

  31. Kate Webster 01.07.2013

    I made this over the weekend. Yum Yum Yum and Yum! Thank you for posting the recipe!

  32. Becky 01.09.2013

    My husband’s fav food is risotto and I love shrimp. I made this last night and we were both happier campers. Lots of yum!

  33. Michelle 01.13.2013

    This looks delicious!! I do not drink wine or nor do I have any to use in this recipe. I know :( Is it necessary and can I go with out or is there something else to use in its place??

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.15.2013

      You can leave the wine out and replace it with the same amount of chicken broth!

  34. Jennifer 01.15.2013

    Just wanted to say Thanks… not just for the great dish , but also for such a wonderful blog. I too have a major sweet tooth (hot lips are my fav.) and have been running for a year now. Look forward to reading more. Hope you have a great day and thanks again.

  35. […] Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats […]

  36. Tara 01.31.2013

    I made this the other night and it was delicious and thanks for sharing such great recipes

  37. […] stir until it’s nearly all absorbed. I used an inexpensive pinot grigio. As I mentioned last time, the alcohol from the wine will cook out, but it’s yummy, elegant flavor will remain in the final […]

  38. Zoey 04.05.2013

    I Just made this and I must say, this is possibly the best thing to ever come out/off of my stove. It’s so simple but tastes SO good! I made double this and my roommate said it’s the best risotto she’s ever had! (I’m inclined to agree!)

  39. […] Lemon & Asparagus Risotto (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats) […]

  40. […] I found this recipe for “Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto” via Iowa Girl Eats, a blog with fantastic recipes, great photos and lots of personality. And […]

  41. Denise 05.03.2013

    I made this tonight with zucchini instead of asparagus since that’s what I had. It was excellent. I’ve tried risotto in the past and it didn’t turn out so good. Thank you for the inspiration and excellent directions and photographs.

  42. Ben Goodman 02.11.2014

    Does this make a single serving?

  43. Sam 02.15.2014

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m a huge risotto fan and always looking to make new combinations.

    I served this with some baked salmon for Valentine’s day- it came out perfectly! I ended up having to use a little more broth (closer to 3 cups), but the flavor and proportions were perfect. Each bite had just enough rice, asparagus, and shrimp so that it felt really balanced.

  44. […] mmkay, and there’s no better way to enjoy it than stirred into creamy risotto. Trust me, Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto is E-A-S-Y. You can, and should, make this recipe […]

  45. […] Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto […]

  46. […] Iowa Girl Eats’s Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto -> You know I don’t think I’ve EVER made real risotto before!  It’s been on my cooking bucket list for ages now, and is one of those staple recipes that I feel every amateur chef sound know how to make.  It seems easy enough and this recipe sounds like a perfect starting point. […]

  47. […] :: Shrimp and Asparagus RisottoTuesday :: Out to eat {Bon Temps}Wednesday :: Apricot Glazed Turkey Burgers Stuffed with Goat […]

  48. Ishwari 06.21.2014

    I just finished making this – I am NOT a cook. But this was actually pretty simple. I know you had said crack up the tunes – which I did. It took you 5-6 songs of stirring like a robot- It took me 2 glasses of wine! (Had to open bottle to use in recipe! Couldn’t let it just sit there and go to waste – right?) lol Looking forward to WOWing the pants off my boyfriend with this :) lol

  49. […] risotto that I tried was the Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto. Like the title suggests, it’s very simple. It’s also very tasty.  When I made this […]

  50. […] Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto. […]

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