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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Spicy Tarragon & Tomato Risotto with Seared Asparagus

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that's a unique mix of sweet aniseed and a mild vanilla, with notes of liquorice. A small amount can impart a remarkable flavour to your dishes, particularly those with creamy, milky sauces.

Tarragon, called dragoncello in Italian, is not a herb we use a lot in our cuisine - I believe it's more common in French cuisine than Italian, where it features in many dishes, including Béarnaise sauce, and because of its delicate flavour pairs well with fish, chicken, and eggs.

I used it in this extra-creamy, tomatoey, hot and smoky risotto and it was the perfect cozy lunch for this beginning of autumn.

Asparagus can be replaced with other greens like tender stem broccoli, green beans or even okra. The key flavour comes from tarragon, smoked paprika and a touch of garam masala, along with a delicious, chunky tomato sauce. Give it a try and let me know!

Ingredients (for 2)

  • 180g short-grain rice (best if Carnaroli, Arborio or Venere variety)

  • 2 tbsps olive oil, divided

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 800ml vegetable stock

  • 125g asparagus

  • 200g chopped tomatoes

  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 large bunch of fresh tarragon

  • 2 knobs butter

  • Salt and pepper to taste


Cut the tips off the asparagus and set them aside. Chop the remaining stalks in thin rounds and set aside.

Heat a large pan and add the rice. Toast over medium heat, then add oil, garlic, salt, pepper, tomato and sliced asparagus stalks.

Start adding the stock one ladle at a time while stirring frequently.

Whenever the liquid gets absorbed, add one more ladle until the rice is 90% cooked.

Add this point, add the spices, tarragon, butter and one last ladle of stock. Cover with a lid and leave to complete cooking in its own steam for another 2-3 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the remaining oil and add the reserved asparagus tips. Sear on a high flame for 20-30 seconds and add on top of the risotto.

Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Word of the Day


(pronounced dra·gon·cèl·lo)

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