Asparagus Risotto

This flavor-packed asparagus risotto pairs creamy arborio rice with Parmesan and lemony roasted asparagus. A true crowd pleaser! Creamy, savory, crunchy, and zingy: this asparagus risotto is truly sublime. Otherwise known as, the best way to usher in spring! Alex and I are craving fresh flavors over here, and this fancy yet simple dinner is the perfect antidote. Roast up some asparagus with lemon at the same time that you’re stirring up a creamy risotto on the stovetop. Then throw the tender bright green asparagus into the risotto, right along with the lemon. You’ll wish the pot would never end (we certainly did!). What’s in asparagus risotto? You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients for this asparagus risotto. The flavors are crisp and pure. Here’s what you’ll need: White arborio rice: a short-grain Italian rice used for making risotto Asparagus Broth and dry white wine: wine is essential to the nuanced flavor! Lemon: fresh lemon pairs perfectly with asparagus Parmesan cheese: brings just the right savory notes Olive oil, butter, onion, garlic powder: For flavoring Toasted pine nuts: step it up with this Italian-style garnish (here’s how to toast them) The keys to making risotto Making risotto is actually quite […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This flavor-packed asparagus risotto pairs creamy arborio rice with Parmesan and lemony roasted asparagus. A true crowd pleaser!

Asparagus risotto

Creamy, savory, crunchy, and zingy: this asparagus risotto is truly sublime. Otherwise known as, the best way to usher in spring! Alex and I are craving fresh flavors over here, and this fancy yet simple dinner is the perfect antidote. Roast up some asparagus with lemon at the same time that you’re stirring up a creamy risotto on the stovetop. Then throw the tender bright green asparagus into the risotto, right along with the lemon. You’ll wish the pot would never end (we certainly did!).

What’s in asparagus risotto?

You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients for this asparagus risotto. The flavors are crisp and pure. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White arborio rice: a short-grain Italian rice used for making risotto
  • Asparagus
  • Broth and dry white wine: wine is essential to the nuanced flavor!
  • Lemon: fresh lemon pairs perfectly with asparagus
  • Parmesan cheese: brings just the right savory notes
  • Olive oil, butter, onion, garlic powder: For flavoring
  • Toasted pine nuts: step it up with this Italian-style garnish (here’s how to toast them)
Asparagus risotto

The keys to making risotto

Making risotto is actually quite simple! It’s just a matter of slow cooking short grain rice with broth until it becomes extraordinarily creamy. When Alex and I first started cooking, I remember thinking that risotto was something that came out of a box marked “risotto”. Turns out, it’s just a special way to cook arborio rice.

  • Use arborio rice. Make sure to find short-grain white arborio rice for this recipe. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores. This variety of rice becomes plump
  • Heat the broth first. Start with warm broth (this recipe uses some water too, so you don’t have to buy more than 1 quart). This helps it to cook right into the warm rice without lowering the temperature of the food.
  • Add warm broth 2 ladles at a time and stir until integrated. That’s all you have to do! Once the broth cooks into the rice, add another two ladles.
  • Cook until creamy & al dente, then add Parm. Keep cooking this way until the rice is creamy but still a bit al dente (with a little bite in the center). It should take about 12 minutes. Then add the Parmesan cheese and stir vigorously for 2 minutes.
Asparagus risotto

How to cook the asparagus: roast it!

While that risotto is bubbling, you’ll roast up a pan of asparagus until it’s tender. We love that this veggie adds fiber to the risotto, making it more filling and nutritious! How to cook asparagus? Use the concept from our Roasted Asparagus. It’s so easy: just about 10 minutes in a very hot oven makes it perfectly tender. Here are some tips on the asparagus side of this risotto:

  • Prep the pan and have it ready to go while making the risotto. You’ll prep everything and get your pan of asparagus ready, then start the risotto. Because…
  • Time it so the asparagus finishes just as the risotto does. When the asparagus comes out of the oven, it’s perfectly bright green and tender. You’ll want to catch it just at that point so it’s at its brightest color when you serve. Overcooking the asparagus makes it turn a drab green color.
  • Leftovers lose the color in the asparagus: but still taste good! The asparagus will fade to a yellow green color in leftovers. But they still taste wonderful: they’re just not showy for serving to guests.
Roasted asparagus

Why to make this asparagus risotto

This risotto is the absolute perfect spring recipe, filled with bright green fresh and tangy flavors! Of course, you can also serve it any season you can find good asparagus. A few recipe testers tried this recipe for us: here’s what they had to say!

  • “We made the asparagus risotto tonight and it was SO SO SO good! I was surprised at how much lemon flavor it had from roasting the lemons with the asparagus. We had to keep ourselves from eating the whole thing in one dinner!” -Connie
  • “It was so delicious. It was creamy and tangy and the asparagus was perfect!” -Karen
Best Asparagus risotto

What to serve with risotto

Sometimes it’s hard to decide how to make risotto into a full meal (Alex and I have been there)! Accessorizing with a salad makes for a healthy vegetarian dinner. Of course, it want to add crunchy, savory garlic bread we won’t judge! Here are a few ideas for what to serve with risotto:

  • Easy Arugula Salad Here’s the simplest salad you’ll ever make! This easy arugula salad is fool-proof: you don’t even need to make dressing.
  • Classic Garlic Bread It’s crunchy on top, chewy on the inside, and full of flavor: the perfect side to go with pasta or tomato soup.
  • Fennel Orange Salad A fancy and refreshing side dish! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.

PS if you love risotto, make sure to try our Butternut Squash Risotto, Mushroom Risotto, Roasted Cauliflower Risotto and Parmesan Risotto.

This asparagus risotto recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Asparagus risotto

Best Asparagus Risotto


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This flavor-packed asparagus risotto pairs creamy arborio rice with Parmesan and lemony roasted asparagus. A true crowd pleaser!


Ingredients

  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon (Zest from half, plus 4 slices from the other half)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups white arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional garnish: Toasted pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat the broth: Combine the broth, water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan and place it over low heat. (You’ll use this warmed broth to stir into the risotto).
  3. Cut the vegetables: Mince the onion, then place it in a bowl and reserve. Cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus and then cut them into two-inch pieces.
  4. Prep the asparagus: Add the asparagus stalks to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the zest of 1/2 lemon and mix with your hands. Thinly slice 2 lemon wheels from the lemon, then cut each in half and add them right on the tray.
  5. Start the risotto: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and the 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Add the garlic powder and rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes until the rice starts to turn light brown. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed.
  6. Roast the asparagus: Place the tray with the asparagus in the oven and 10 to 15 minutes, until bright green and tender when pierced by a fork at the thickest part. The timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus spears. (You’ll remove it from the oven while you’re cooking the risotto in the next step.)
  7. Meanwhile, cook the risotto: Add two ladles of the hot broth to the risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add two more ladles of both. Cook in this same manner for about 12 minutes, adding two ladles and stirring. After the 12 minutes, taste a grain of rice. If it’s creamy but still al dente in the center, you’re ready for the final step! If not, continue to cook and add broth for a few minutes more.
  8. Finish the risotto: When the rice is al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add two more ladles of broth, the Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. Then stir in the asparagus and roasted lemon wedges and serve immediately. Stores refrigerated in a sealed container for 3 days, though the color of the asparagus will fade (reheat before serving).

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Asparagus risotto

More asparagus recipes

Want more ways to use this healthy green stalk? Here are some asparagus recipes to add to your repertoire:

  • Asparagus Salad with Feta Bursting with flavor and totally versatile! It highlights sauteed asparagus with lemon, radishes, feta, and a Dijon dressing.
  • Shaved Asparagus Salad Ever tried asparagus raw? It tastes mild and sweet! Eat it as shaved asparagus salad, which pairs the ribbons with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and Parmesan.
  • Easy Baked Asparagus An easy side dish that’s a hit with everyone. The green stalks are roasted until tender, spritzed with lemon & topped with Parmesan.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Roasted Broccolini

Roasted broccolini is impressive with little effort! A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli. Here’s our new very favorite easy side dish around here: roasted broccolini! Alex and I avoided broccolini for a while because honestly: it seemed like it was trying a little too hard. Hi, I’m broccolini: broccoli’s much cooler and more sophisticated cousin. But guess what? After trying it roasted, we’re solidly on the broccoli train. It’s even more delicious than roasted broccoli (if that’s possible!), with a sweet flavor and tender crunch. Even better: it looks fancier and takes less time to cook. Here’s how to cook broccolini into the very best side dish. What is broccolini, exactly? It might look like baby broccoli, but it’s actually not: though it’s sometimes labeled that way in the grocery store. Here’s what to know about broccolini: Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli. Broccolini was invented in 1993! Doesn’t it seem like an Italian ingredient with hundreds of years of history? […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Roasted broccolini is impressive with little effort! A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli.

Roasted broccolini

Here’s our new very favorite easy side dish around here: roasted broccolini! Alex and I avoided broccolini for a while because honestly: it seemed like it was trying a little too hard. Hi, I’m broccolini: broccoli’s much cooler and more sophisticated cousin. But guess what? After trying it roasted, we’re solidly on the broccoli train. It’s even more delicious than roasted broccoli (if that’s possible!), with a sweet flavor and tender crunch. Even better: it looks fancier and takes less time to cook. Here’s how to cook broccolini into the very best side dish.

What is broccolini, exactly?

It might look like baby broccoli, but it’s actually not: though it’s sometimes labeled that way in the grocery store. Here’s what to know about broccolini:

  • Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has both the long stems of Chinese broccoli and the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli.
  • Broccolini was invented in 1993! Doesn’t it seem like an Italian ingredient with hundreds of years of history? Nope, it’s not even 20 years old.
  • How to find it: It’s not available at all grocery stores, but it’s becoming more widely carried. It’s usually by the broccoli, so look for the small bunches of broccoli with long stems.
Broccolini

The keys to roasted broccolini

Making roasted broccolini is quick and easy, but it looks like a fancy side dish! It’s so irresistible that we ended up eating most of it right off of the roasting pan. This is SO good, I kept exclaiming. Something about the sweet flavor makes it hard to stop eating. It doesn’t have that slight bitter taste like broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts).

There are only a few things to know about making roasted broccolini: it’s so simple! Here’s what to do:

  • Chop off about 2 inches of the ends of the broccolini. The ends can be tough, so chop them off before roasting. Then mix with olive oil and salt, and lay the stalks in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Roast at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. All you need is 15 minutes for broccolini, vs 20 to 25 minutes for standard broccoli. Roasting in a very hot oven makes it crispy and browned at the edges.
  • Spritz with lemon and add grated garlic. Our favorite way to flavor broccoli: just fresh lemon juice and a little fresh garlic. It takes it from good to life changing!
Roasted broccolini

How to cook broccolini

There are of course other ways to cook broccolini: but none as delicious as roasting, in our minds! Here are the basic ways to cook it:

Roasted broccolini with lemon

Ways to serve roasted broccolini

Roasted broccolini pairs with all sorts of main dishes! It’s especially perfect for entertaining, and makes any dinner party entree seem that much fancier. Here are some ideas on how to serve it:

Roasted broccolini

This roasted broccolini recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Roasted broccolini

Easy Roasted Broccolini


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Roasted broccolini is impressive with little effort! A hot oven is the best way to cook this veggie: it comes out even more delicious than its cousin broccoli.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds or 3 bunches broccolini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop off about 2 inches of the ends of the broccolini. In a medium bowl, mix it with with the olive oil and kosher salt.
  3. Place the broccolini on the pan in a single layer. Roast for about 15 minutes, until tender and slightly browned (no need to stir!).
  4. Remove the pan from the oven. Grate the garlic onto the pan, and squeeze on the lemon juice. Use a spoon to gently toss it all together (separating any grated garlic that clumps together). Serve immediately.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Roasted Broccolini Recipe, How to Cook Broccolini, Baby Broccoli

More roasted vegetables!

Roasting is our very favorite way to cook vegetables! Here are some more of our favorite easy and healthy side dish recipes:

  • Favorite Roasted Cauliflower Roasting it makes this veggie irresistibly good, you can’t stop eating it.
  • Roasted Kale Baked until tender and crispy at the edges! It’s a unique and delicious way to eat kale.
  • Roasted Carrots Bake these carrots until tender with lemon wedges and fresh thyme…they turn out amazing.
  • Perfect Roasted Eggplant Baking eggplant until it’s tender makes for unreal flavor.
  • Roasted Asparagus Bake it for 10 minutes then spritz with lemon: the perfect side dish!
  • Roasted Radishes A unique easy side dish, roasted radishes come out vibrant and juicy, with a sweet, mild flavor.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

12 Crowd-Favorite Dinner Recipes for Any Holiday Feast

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even just the end of a big year, you’ll want to share a meal that marks the occasion. We’re talking a big, bronzed holiday ham, perfectly braised lamb shanks, a whole roasted fish with winter …

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even just the end of a big year, you’ll want to share a meal that marks the occasion. We’re talking a big, bronzed holiday ham, perfectly braised lamb shanks, a whole roasted fish with winter citrus, or (for the non-meat eaters in your life) vegan lentil shepherd's pie.

It’s okay that these dishes take a little extra time and effort to make it to the table. It's part of the celebration.

Read More >>

Wild Rice Soup (& Cozy Dinner Party Menu)

This wild rice soup recipe is impossibly creamy, packed with flavor and full of tender veggies and hearty rice. Everyone asks for the recipe—it’s that good. This post was created in partnership with Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove; all opinions are our own. It may look like just a bowl of wild rice soup, but to us, it’s much more than that. This bowl of decadent creamy soup is a peak into our philosophy on food (yep, we’re going deep!). Alex and I think food should be three things: nourishing, delicious, and community-building. And this soup is all three. It’s made 100% of fresh and healthy veggies, but it’s so savory and creamy you’d never know it. Let’s just say “best soup ever” was mumbled more than once around the table as we downed spoonfuls. We served this at a Cozy Dinner Party we had recently. It’s all the things food should be⁠—and we can’t wait to share it with you! Related: Got an Instant Pot? Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup The philosophy This recipe and dinner party are in honor of our friends at Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove. What we love about the brand is that they’re not only passionate about […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

This wild rice soup recipe is impossibly creamy, packed with flavor and full of tender veggies and hearty rice. Everyone asks for the recipe—it’s that good.

Wild rice soup

This post was created in partnership with Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove; all opinions are our own.

It may look like just a bowl of wild rice soup, but to us, it’s much more than that. This bowl of decadent creamy soup is a peak into our philosophy on food (yep, we’re going deep!). Alex and I think food should be three things: nourishing, delicious, and community-building. And this soup is all three. It’s made 100% of fresh and healthy veggies, but it’s so savory and creamy you’d never know it. Let’s just say “best soup ever” was mumbled more than once around the table as we downed spoonfuls. We served this at a Cozy Dinner Party we had recently. It’s all the things food should be⁠—and we can’t wait to share it with you!

Related: Got an Instant Pot? Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup

Creamy wild rice soup dinner party

The philosophy

This recipe and dinner party are in honor of our friends at Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove. What we love about the brand is that they’re not only passionate about making the highest quality refrigeration, cooking, and dishwashing appliances (you may remember we use a Cove dishwasher in our kitchen!), but we share a similar philosophy that extends beyond the kitchen. Living deliciously is all about setting down our phones, picking up our forks, and relishing every succulent, savory, sweet taste of the good life.

What to serve with creamy wild rice soup
Cozy dinner party menu

The menu

This wild rice soup was the star of our Cozy Dinner Party! We hosted it to enjoy the coming cool weather and a visit from my sister. She’s currently relocating to the US from Southeast Asia, so it’s incredible to spend quality time together, whereas in the past its been so few and far between.

Another reason for the party: I’m a summer girl, so practicing getting “cozy” for the cool weather is a skill I need to cultivate! The way to get through the winter months for me is all about getting cozy and making all the tasty seasonal foods: like soup! What did we pair with it? A fresh salad, a signature cocktail, and crisp bread.

Here’s the full Cozy Dinner Party menu:

Best game for dinner parties

The memories

One of our favorite dinner party tips: make a Question Jar. Even in a dinner party with people you know intimately, it can be so much fun to have conversation starters to discuss throughout the meal. Excited to have my sister back home, it made for a fun way to guide conversation and talk about things we might not have otherwise. Of course, this is especially nice if you have people who are meeting for the first time!

Here’s an example of some of our questions:

  • What is the thing you’re most passionate about right now?
  • If you could start a business today, what would it be?
  • What is one thing you’d change about yourself?
  • What is one goal you have in the next 6 months?
  • Where do you want to travel next?
  • If you could master one new skill, what would it be?

Do you have any great get-to-know-you questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Wild rice soup

How to make wild rice soup

This wild rice soup is pretty darn incredible, if we do say so ourselves. It’s creamy, it’s cozy, it’s savory: yet somehow, it’s made 100% of plants. Yes, this is secretly a vegan wild rice soup (don’t tell anyone). But after you make it, you’ll swear that somehow a little heavy cream got mixed in. It’s perfectly seasoned, and you might not be able to stop eating it (we weren’t!). Per my sister: “This is really the best soup ever.

While it takes about 1 hour to make, this healthy dinner recipe is 100% worth the effort. And since most of that time is hands off, it works as an easy dinner idea, too. What are our secrets to how to make the best wild rice soup?

  • Use cashews. Blended cashews can stand in for dairy! In this wild rice soup, you’ll let them soak while the soup simmers. Then you’ll take 2 cups of the soup out (veggies and all) and blend it with the soaked cashews. It makes for the creamiest base EVER. You’ll swear there’s dairy in it.
  • Add white beans and mushrooms. Because there’s no chicken in it (sorry, meat lovers!), this wild rice soup features white beans as a plant-based protein. It’s a unique addition and seriously good. Mushrooms also bring in big flavor and texture.
  • Simmer until the rice pops. Wild rice notoriously takes quite a while to cook: upwards of 50 minutes. You’ll cook this soup until most of the rice grains burst and are tender. It might feel like a long time, but it’s important that the rice is perfectly tender.

If you have an Instant Pot, this soup is modeled after our Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup one of our most fan-favorite recipes. Head to that recipe to get the Instant Pot instructions.

Wild rice soup
Best game for dinner parties

This wild rice soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Wild rice soup

Wild Rice Soup


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8

Description

This wild rice soup recipe is impossibly creamy, packed with flavor and full of tender veggies and hearty rice. Everyone asks for the recipe—it’s that good.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews*
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup wild rice (not a wild rice blend)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari, or liquid aminos

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with water. Leave them to soak while you make the recipe.
  2. Dice the onion. Thinly slice the celery. Cut the carrot into rounds. Slice the mushrooms. Mince the garlic.
  3. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and oregano and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, wild rice, 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the beans and simmer 30 to 35 minutes more, or until rice breaks open.
  5. Using a liquid cup measure, carefully remove 2 cups of the soup (broth, veggies and all) to a blender. Add 1 cup water. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender, along with the dried sage. Blend on high for about 1 minute until creamy. Then pour the creamy mixture back into the soup.
  6. Add the soy sauce and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Garnish with fresh ground pepper.

Notes

*We used raw cashews. If your cashews are salted, you may need to adjust and add a little less salt at the end. 

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Plant Based

Keywords: Wild Rice Soup

Looking for soup recipes?

Here are a few more soups (and sides) we’d recommend for a cozy dinner party:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

Vodka Sauce Pasta (+ Party Tips!)

Nothing says “special dinner” more than vodka sauce pasta! The creamy sauce is simmered with garlic and basil, served over rigatoni with lots of Parmesan. This post was created in partnership with DeLallo. All opinions are our own. Twinkle lights, crisp rose and vodka sauce pasta. Excuse us while we sigh in nostalgia! This long-simmered sauce will shoot you to Italian grandmother status in no time. We created this recipe in honor of our favorite Italian brand, Delallo, who just launched their new line of pasta. To celebrate, we threw a sweet Italian-themed “pasta party” and invited some of our favorite women entrepreneurs working in food in our city. It was the most special evening! We want to show you how to recreate this simple Italian dinner party to enjoy good food and good people. Ready? An Italian dinner party menu This Italian dinner party menu is all about simplicity! While the vodka sauce pasta takes about 1 hour to simmer, it’s mostly hands off! You can put it on the stove and let it simmer while you make the rest of the recipes and preparations. It’s truly all about the goodness of simple, high quality ingredients. We used a bunch […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

Nothing says “special dinner” more than vodka sauce pasta! The creamy sauce is simmered with garlic and basil, served over rigatoni with lots of Parmesan.

Vodka Sauce Pasta

This post was created in partnership with DeLallo. All opinions are our own.

Twinkle lights, crisp rose and vodka sauce pasta. Excuse us while we sigh in nostalgia! This long-simmered sauce will shoot you to Italian grandmother status in no time. We created this recipe in honor of our favorite Italian brand, Delallo, who just launched their new line of pasta. To celebrate, we threw a sweet Italian-themed “pasta party” and invited some of our favorite women entrepreneurs working in food in our city. It was the most special evening! We want to show you how to recreate this simple Italian dinner party to enjoy good food and good people. Ready?

Italian pasta party

An Italian dinner party menu

This Italian dinner party menu is all about simplicity! While the vodka sauce pasta takes about 1 hour to simmer, it’s mostly hands off! You can put it on the stove and let it simmer while you make the rest of the recipes and preparations. It’s truly all about the goodness of simple, high quality ingredients. We used a bunch of Delallo products to put together the menu: we love them because they are truly best in class. (Trust us, we’re obsessed with Italian foods and this Italian family business has it nailed.)

Here’s our simple Italian dinner party menu:

*We created this custom box for Delallo based on our latest Italy trip! You could also buy these ingredients separately: we used the Olive Bruschetta, Artichoke Bruschetta, Grilled Artichokes (our favorite!), Castelvetrano Olives, Parmesan Cheese Wedge, Sliced Prosciutto, and Pistachios.

Italian dinner party
Delallo pasta

Tips on how to make vodka sauce pasta

Want the secret to Italian grandmother style vodka sauce pasta? Simmer the sauce. For 1 hour! You won’t see a lot of 1 hour simmers here on A Couple Cooks. Because our core passion is fast and easy dinner recipes. But guess what? Even more than fast and easy, we’re obsessed with flavor. This vodka sauce pasta is so seriously full of flavor, it’s worth every second of that simmer. And what says “you’re special” more than a 1 hour simmered pasta?

Here’s another secret. Because this pasta sauce is mostly hands-off, it’s actually an easy recipe. Here are some tips on how to make vodka sauce pasta:

  • The only thing you’ll need to cut is garlic! If you need to brush up on your knife skills, here’s How to Mince Garlic.
  • Use quality vodka: and don’t worry! It’s safe for kids. You’ll want to use the good stuff here! Don’t worry, the alcohol cooks away, leaving a tangy back-end flavor.
  • Simmer with a halved onion. To get onion flavor without onion in the sauce, you’ll simply simmer the sauce with a halved onion: then remove it after the simmer.
  • Fresh basil is a must. Trust us. The Italians know best!
  • Blend, then melt in the Parmesan cheese (not cream). Some vodka sauces use heavy cream, but the Parmesan carries the show here.
Vodka sauce pasta
Delallo pasta
Tomato can vases: dinner party idea

Pasta party prep tips

Now, dinner parties aren’t just about recipes: they’re about setting a beautiful table too! Luckily I had Alex to help me and he thought of some really fun decoration ideas. Here’s what we did to make a lovely setting for our vodka sauce pasta with friends:

  • Use tomato cans as vases! The most fun idea for reuse: save your tomato cans and use them as vases! Here we filled them with flowers from our yard.
  • Add a simple white table runner and candles. Besides this, our only decoration was a simple white table runner down the center of our table, and some white candles as a centerpiece.
  • Ball jar drinking glasses make a nice touch. These blue Ball jars are our everyday glasses, but the color makes a nice pop for a tablescape.
  • Twinkle lights are a must. All we know is that all food tastes better under twinkle lights! Unless it’s not outside dining weather, in which case you can make it up with more candles.

Here’s how we phased out our party prep. Alex and I did all the table decor first, then made the vodka sauce. We let that simmer while we prepared the salad and got together the cheese plate and appetizers. The pasta portion of the vodka sauce pasta I boiled up right after guests arrived: that way the pasta would be perfectly hot and al dente.

Pasta party
Italian dinner party
Cheers

Our party guests

For our Italian dinner party, we wanted to enjoy Delallo’s new pasta with our vodka sauce pasta and give a little thank you to some women entrepreneurs working in food in Indy. These women are part of the Indy Women in Food organization that works to connect women business owners in Indianapolis to empower them and encourage collaboration. These dear friends of ours are working hard to make our city’s food scene and beyond a better, more equitable place. This dream team helps us run the DiverseCITY Panel Series, a conversation about women, diversity and inclusion, and food. Make sure follow along with these incredible women and their stories:

  • Tanorria Askew, personal chef and MasterChef finalist: Website| Instagram
  • Candace Boyd Wylie, food blogger and spice brand owner: Website | Instagram
  • Ashley Brooks, culinary consultant and founder of Garfield Park Farmer’s Market: Instagram
  • Lauren McDuffie, cookbook author, food blogger & photographer: Website | Instagram
Dinner party guests

This vodka sauce pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Print
Vodka Sauce Pasta

Vodka Sauce Pasta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8

Description

Nothing says “special dinner” more than vodka sauce pasta! The creamy sauce is simmered with garlic and basil, served over rigatoni with lots of Parmesan.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound Delallo rigatoni pasta (or short pasta or your choice)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/3 cup high-quality vodka
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic.
  2. Melt the butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vodka, oregano, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Stir to combine. Add the halved onion and simmer for 1 hour with the lid tilted, stirring occasionally.
  3. After the simmering time, remove the onion. Transfer the sauce to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until it melts.
  4. Meanwhile, boil heavily salted water in a large pot. Cook the pasta to al dente (see the section above). When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Combine it with the vodka sauce. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil leaves.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Vodka Sauce, Vodka Sauce Pasta, Pasta Recipe, Vegetarian Pasta,

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