Snow Crab and Asparagus Risotto

I am one of those typical Asians who grew up eating rice all my life. I could not imagine not having rice for an entire week. When I went to Italy for over two weeks, all I had was pasta and meat and I was getting homesick and tired of the food. When I finally got to Venice, I tried the seafood risotto at the famous Antico Dolo. It was like home all over again! Granted, the rice grains were short and al dente and it had that cheesy butter taste, it was still great to have rice again.

It took a few tries before I got used to cooking risotto. It’s much like making congee but instead of letting it sit there on the stove and the water reduces over time, I had to stand around and ladle the soup base every so often.

So as I was sick home from work, I decided to try and make crab risotto. There was a snow crab sale at the local market so I got a few legs. In my mind, I thought, “oh, that’s so little! I should add some tilapia as well.” Needless to say, I didn’t need that extra tilapia.


  • 4 cups of seafood or chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 of onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of uncooked arborio rice
  • 3 cooked snow crab legs
  • 5 stalks of asparagus
  • optional, 1 tilapia filet
  • optional, saffron thread
  • optional, salt for taste

Everyone knows I have an aversion to butter so I almost never use it when a recipe calls for it. I used to throw a tantrum when my mother would cook eggs with butter and I would refuse to eat anything cooked with butter. I’ve gotten better about it but I don’t particular care for the taste of butter (unlike my roommate who I believe one night is probably eating a stick of butter out of boredom).

I used bouillon cubes for this recipe so I didn’t need any additional salt at all. I heated 1.5 cubes in 4 cups of water; when it started to boil, I added saffron threads and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. I then let it soak all day until it was close to dinner time to let the saffron color and taste infuse into the broth.

snow crab and asparagus risotto

It only takes an hour to cook so reheat the broth until it simmers, adding half a cup more of broth if it has evaporated too much. Meanwhile, over medium high heat, add olive oil in a sauce pan, then add onion and toss until it’s aromatic. Add garlic to finalize the scent. I love the smell of onion and garlic. Add rice and toss until it turns transparent. Make sure not to burn garlic or onion. Add 3 ladles of simmering broth and turn heat down.

While this is simmering and reducing, clean the snow crab and peel the meat out. Save the tip of the claw.
snow crab

Add 3 more ladles of broth.

Clean the asparagus and cut into 1 inches.

Add 3 more ladles of broth.

Taste. If you are using broth, add salt as needed. I wouldn’t use more than a couple of teaspoons of salt.

My boyfriend and his mother love the rice al dente so I don’t cook risotto for too long.

I pour the rest of the broth, add meat. Let it reduce a little more and then add asparagus.

You can have a soupy risotto which was what I wanted since I was sick and wanted the soup more than the rice. However, if you are serving right away, you may want to cook until the soup reduces so that it’s more rice than water.

For decoration, serve with a claw on top of the risotto.
snow crab and asparagus risotto