Broccolini, Ham, and Lemon Spring Risotto with Chives


In my opinion the best thing about risotto is you can literally tailor it to any craving you have, or to any season. Once you have a good base recipe (like this one!), the opportunities are really endless. I was craving risotto recently and knew I wanted to incorporate the best spring flavors, but wasn't totally sure where to start. Peas are a spring staple, but they've never been my thing. Protein in risotto can be hit or miss, as I love when risotto is nice and cohesive, and that can throw things off. And of course, some type of acidity is necessary, but it must pair with everything else.

The springiest!

While it seemed like a tall task, once I stumbled upon this combination I knew it would be a spring winner. It all started with my disapproval of peas. I knew this risotto needed another bright green accompaniment, and I've always loved broccolini, so it seemed perfect. You'll start by cutting the tough ends of the broccolini stems off, and then cutting the remaining stems and heads into inch-long pieces. We'll blanch these quickly so they turn extra green, which will look pretty in the risotto with a basically effortless step.

After that you can go ahead and get going on your risotto. Even though it may take a little extra time, it actually should come together in roughly 25 minutes and it is always SO worth it. Plus, you get a little arm workout in with the stirring. Also, if I haven't convinced you yet, your free non-stirring hand is totally available to hold a nice glass of white wine to enjoy while you stir.

This risotto also has the simplest "add-ins", so while the risotto itself is a little hands on, once the base and the broccolini are cooked there is no other cooking involved and you can toss everything right in.

In my mind when I think of spring I automatically think of ham, and it seemed like the perfect "bite-sized" protein, so I knew I wanted to include some here. While you can use leftover ham you may have from actually cooking a ham in the oven, I find that ham from the deli works perfectly fine here and there are always lots of good options at most grocery stores. For the cheese, we're using gruyere, which is honestly up there with being one of the best cheeses in my opinion. Plus, ham and gruyere are made for each other, so it's really fate.

Grab all the cheese...

Once your risotto is cooked but still pourable, it's as easy as stirring in the cheese, broccolini, and ham. While this will already be packed with flavor, nothing brightens a dish up like lemon zest and every risotto could use a bit of acidity, so make sure to sprinkle your finished product with at least a little. Plus, it makes this extra colorful which is no trivial feat.

While they can be strong on their own, I also found some very thinly chopped chives to be perfect on top as well. You can add as many or as few as you like, and if you don't like chives, a little thyme would also work great.

Sprinkle on some extra shredded or shaved gruyere, and enjoy this springy risotto! A comforting dinner that still has all the spring bright flavors that we're all starting to crave this time of year.

Not sure that anything could scream spring has sprung quite like a pink, green and yellow dish, so get excited for summer days to come and eat up!

Broccolini, Ham, and Lemon Spring Risotto with Chives

A spring risotto dinner that is warm enough for cooler spring nights, bright enough with green veggies and lemon, and satisfying enough with ham and the best cheese.



Servings: 4

  • 4 bunches broccolini
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth low sodium or unsalted
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine dry
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • ½ cup gruyere shredded, plus additional for serving
  • 6 ounces ham chopped
  • lemon zest for serving
  • chives chopped, for serving


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Chop hard ends off broccolini and discard. Chop heads off and set aside. Slice stems into 1 inch long rods. Add stems to pot and cook for 3-4 mins until softened. Add heads and cook for an additional minute until bright green. Drain and set aside.

2. Add broth and bay leaves to a medium saucepan and place over low heat. In a separate medium to large saucepan, melt butter. Add chopped onion and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 additional minutes until fragrant.

3. Add the arborio rice and stir for 2-3 minutes until it begins to turn translucent and starts to toast slightly. Add the white wine and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, 3-5 minutes.

4. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and simmer, stirring until it is absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup amounts at a time, stirring until absorbed after each addition. After 20-25 minutes rice should be cooked through yet still pourable. Add additional broth if needed.

5. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, then stir in gruyere, reserved broccolini, and ham.

6. Serve immediately topped with lemon zest, chives, and additional gruyere.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Thanks for contributing to our community! Your comment will appear shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Be the first to comment on this recipe