Asparagus Risotto with Pea Shoots & Mint Pesto


A wonderful recipe by our foodie ambassador Pamela Ryan. Check out her page for more posts.


A vibrant spring risotto that is both light and comforting.


Please note that all ambassador recipes have not been tested by an Honestly Healthy chef.[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Asparagus Risotto with Pea Shoots & Mint Pesto – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

Cooks In40 Minutes


For the Risotto:

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
150g pearl barley
750ml vegetable or chicken stock
220g fat asparagus
1 cup pea shoots
Juice of 1/2 lemon
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Mint Pesto:

50g fresh mint leaves, coarse stems removed
20g fresh flat leaf parsley
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1 heaping handful of pine nuts
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon


To make the risotto:


Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the pearl barley and cook for 1 minute.

Add a quarter of the stock to the saucepan and simmer, whilst stirring occasionally to make sure the barley doesn't stick to the base of the pan. When the stock is absorbed, add another quarter of stock and continue in this way until all the stock is absorbed. The risotto should be tender with a slight ‘bite’.

Trim the woody ends of the asparagus and chop the spears into bite-size diagonal pieces. Stir in the asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season and stir in half of the pea shoots and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the remaining pea shoots. Serve with a tablespoon of mint pesto per person.


To make the pesto:


Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse to form a paste. Transfer to a small serving bowl. To store extra pesto transfer to a glass jar, pour over some olive oil and refrigerate. This mint pesto can be made in advance and is also delicious with roast spring lamb.


Additional serving suggestions:


A sprinkling of finely grated Grana Padano

Poached or soft-boiled egg