Super creamy asparagus risotto cooked in a slow-cooker, for an easy comforting vegetarian dinner or side dish.
Who knew you could cook up a fabulous risotto in a slow cooker with almost no stirring? Not me, that's for sure.
Because of the kitchen remodel, one of my favorite kitchen tools right now is my slow cooker. So when I ran across this recipe in Easy Vegetarian Slow Cooker, a little cookbook Calisto Media sent me, I had to try it. This is a very unassuming paperback cookbook designed for people on the go, meaning the recipes are very straightforward and don't require a lot of prepping. It provides 77 easy slow-cooker recipes for soups and stews of course like Minestrone Soup, but also for dishes like Vegetable-Stuffed Tomatoes and Swiss Chard Lasagna. Even desserts get equal time with Chocolate-Coconut Bread Pudding, Poached Pears with Caramel, and Chocolate - Strawberry Pudding Cake (I'm trying this one next!)
As a heads up, because it's ostensibly geared to a busy family, this cookbook calls for canned beans, canned corn and frozen asparagus to minimize prepping. I'm a strong proponent of cooking up beans from a dried form, and have easy access to fresh vegetables, so I substituted freely when making the recipes and everything came out great. Also, if you prefer a crust on any of the dishes, a slow cooker is generally not the best way to go since it's a very moist cooking method as compared to the oven. All that said, in the end I came away with some great new slow cooker meals I'll be making for a long time, like this Creamy Asparagus Risotto.
On the risotto, I admit, I was suspicious. I've made many risottos through the years with two abiding rules:
- Stir often
- Serve immediately
But the slow-cooker method only required stirring four times:
- When I combined the ingredients in the slow-cooker
- Half-way through the cooking
- When I added some fresh asparagus an hour later
- When I stirred in the cheese at the end.
It was even a little creamier than other risottos I've made, and it was patient. It waited while I threw together a salad without firming up, and reheated beautifully the next day. If you want to serve risotto at your next dinner party, this is totally the way to go!
As a note, the original recipe called for sautéing garlic, onion, and carrots together for the risotto base, but I opted instead to use some Leek Confit I had on hand to 1. save time and because 2. I don't have a working stove yet.
And for those of you interested in a recent photo of our kitchen project, here's one from this morning! We're making great progress!! Microwave in. Stove was installed today.
Easy Creamy Slow Cooker Asparagus Risotto
- Stir together the sliced leeks, or Leek Confit, rice, broth, salt and pepper in the slow cooker, cover it, and cook on low for 4 hours. If possible, stir it once after 2 hours.
- Pro tip: Don't rinse the rice first. This removes some of the starches, and the starch promotes a creamy risotto.
- Slice the asparagus into 1" pieces and stir into the risotto at the 3 hour mark.
- When the risotto is done, after approximately 4 hours, stir in the cheeses and serve. There is some variability between slow cookers, so be sure to test the rice to make sure it's done before adding the cheeses.
- Top with pine nuts.