Asiago vegetable risotto is a delicious and easy side dish recipe, packed full of fresh garden vegetables, creamy rice, saffron, bacon, and a sprinkling of Asiago cheese.
Being a born and raised Wisconsin (The Dairyland State) girl pretty much attests to the fact that I am a lover of all things cheese. I incorporate cheese into breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and most recently, into this Asiago vegetable risotto side dish!
Typically, I favor semi soft and fresh cheeses like provolone, mozzarella, and farmers cheese more so than harder “stinky” cheeses like bleu, stilton, and feta. However, I’m working towards developing my palate so that I can experience all of the wonderful tastes and textures of cheese available!
Risotto, on the other hand, is something that I will never turn my nose up at, because I love rice dishes.
Risotto is actually a cooking method.
It starts with a short grain rice, typically Arborio, cooked gently and slowly. As the rice cooks, the starches in the grain break down into the cooking liquid, causing it to become thick and creamy. To feature my love for risotto and for cheese, here is an incredibly easy vegetable risotto recipe for you to try.
This Asiago vegetable risotto is filled with some pretty danged yummi ingredients, too.
Asparagus (my favorite Spring veggie), zucchini, and bacon. Incidentally, my love for bacon is so strong that I have at least 27 recipes on this site that use bacon as an ingredient! Top this side dish with Asiago cheese and you will create the best danged side dish imaginable!
Asiago Vegetable Risotto
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 3 cups vegetable stock, or broth
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced into thin (1/4 inch) pieces
- 6 thin stalks asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup bell pepper (any color), cored, seeded, and diced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4 ounces (1/4 cup) shredded Asiago Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 5 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
- In 3-quart pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add rice and stir continuously until edges of kernels are translucent; about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup broth and stir until absorbed; about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add another 1/2 cup broth, saffron, zucchini, asparagus, red pepper, onions and pepper. Cook until all liquid is absorbed; stirring frequently.
- Continue to add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking until liquid is absorbed each time.
- When all liquid has been added and absorbed, stir in lemon juice, Asiago and remaining butter. Mixture should be creamy and rice should be al dente.
- Before serving, stir in basil and bacon