A Three-Time Winner of Chopped Shares Her Rice-less Risotto Recipe

In these difficult times, it's important to find activities and tasks to do that will keep you feeling productive and centered. We can't think of a more enriching and nurturing task than cooking a delicious meal, which is why we asked Chef Adriana Urbina – a three-time winner of "Chopped" – to share a delightful, springtime dish. The result? This creamy rice-less risotto that uses asparagus as the base and tastes just as creamy and satisfying as a traditional risotto. 

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For Risotto:

∙ 1/2 bunch of green Asparagus ( about 5-6 pieces)
∙ 2 shallots, minced
∙ 1 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil
∙ A couple pinches salt


For garnish: Pecorino Romano, lemon zest, white pepper, olive oil

For Pesto:

∙ 1 bunch green asparagus
∙ 1 bunch Scallions
∙ 1 1⁄2 Tbsp. olive oil
∙ 1⁄2 Tbsp. lemon juice
∙ 1-3 Tbsp. cooking liquid
∙ Salt to taste
∙ A small squirt of honey Pecorino Romano to taste


Equipment: Food processor, Medium size pot, mixing bowl, sauté pan, sharp knife, cutting board.



1. Begin by preparing the sauce. Discard the woody ends of the green asparagus, wash them well and chop them into similar-sizes pieces. Rinse scallions removing any soil.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the asparagus and simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add scallions, submerging them in the water for 1 more minute, just to take the raw edge off. Do not overcook! Immediately drain the asparagus and and scallions reserving the cooking liquid in a separate bowl. Submerge the vegetables in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Reserve 2-3 pieces of asparagus for garnish.

3. Add the cooked asparagus, ramps and remaining sauce ingredients (except for the salt and cheese) to a blender or food processor and process on high until smooth. Add cheese and salt, taste for seasoning. If necessary, add more cooking liquid to achieve a thinner sauce.

4. Prepare the asparagus “rice”. Peel the asparagus from the base all the way to the tip. Cut them in half and then slice them into small pieces. Mince shallots.

5. In a frying pan, heat a little olive oil, add the shallots and a pinch or two of sea salt. Cook until the shallots have nicely caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add the asparagus rice and stir to combine with the shallots. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the green sauce and fold into the rice, warming it. Continue to add the asparagus/scallion cooking liquid that you reserved, or just water, to thin out the consistency. The texture should be like regular risotto: loose and creamy, not sticky and dry, nor too wet and soupy. Make sure it is hot all the way through. Season to taste, add more cheese if desired.

6. Plate the risotto and sprinkle with lemon zest, white pepper, more cheese if desired, and olive oil. Add a couple pieces of the asparagus to the top and serve immediately.

Cook along with Adriana, below!

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