Try this recipe for watercress and asparagus emmer risotto, then try our spring risotto, tomato risotto and leek risotto. Then, discover more risotto recipes.

Watercress and asparagus emmer risotto recipe


  • 200g asparagus
  • 200g watercress
  • 1.25l hot vegetable stock
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 325g emmer
  • 75g pecorino (or vegetarian alternative), grated
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced


  • STEP 1

    Trim the asparagus spears, and put the woody ends in a pan with the watercress and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 mins or until the stems are tender. Cool for 10 mins, then blend until smooth. Pour back into the pan and add the wine.

  • STEP 2

    Melt 30g of the butter in a large, deep pan along with the oil, then add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Fry for 10-12 mins or until a lot of the liquid has evaporated and the onion starts take on a little colour.

  • STEP 3

    Next, add the fennel seeds and emmer, mix well and cook for 3 mins until lightly toasted. With the hob over a medium-high heat, gradually add cups of the stock, stirring slowly the whole time – only adding more stock when the previous cup has been absorbed. This will take 25-30 mins, at the end of which it will be creamy green with the emmer al dente.

  • STEP 4

    Add the pecorino and the remaining 20g of butter, and cook for a final 5 mins to thicken. Meanwhile, brush the asparagus stalks with a little oil and grill under a high heat for 5 mins until charred and tender.

  • STEP 5

    To finish, stir 1 tsp of lemon zest and 2 tbsp of juice into the risotto, divide between plates, top with the charred asparagus and finish with a grating of pecorino.

Now try more asparagus recipes.

Crustless asparagus and bacon quiche


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