Heat oven to 350°F.
In a medium pot, bring water to a roaring boil over high heat. Add salt to taste, and cook orzo pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups cooking liquid for later.
While pasta is cooking, trim ends of each asparagus stalk. Then cut into 1-inch long pieces. Toss asparagus pieces with 1 tablespoon olive oil and lay flat on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes until tender but still crisp.
In a large pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, leeks, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally and let cook 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant.
Add diced sausages to the vegetables and let brown, another 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and stir in cooked pasta with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooking liquid. When orzo risotto is creamy, stir in roasted asparagus.
Usually orzo cooks in 8 to 11 minutes. I check the pasta for doneness at 7 or 8 minutes and continue cooking accordingly.
Non-vegan eaters can top with shaved parmesan. For extra creaminess, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream or creme fraiche in addition to the cooking liquid.
If you’re reheating this vegan spring recipe, add more water or broth to keep it the orzo risotto creamy.
I typically use these smoked apple sage sausages in this asparagus risotto. Top with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast if desired.
DeLallo makes a gluten free orzo pasta or you can make a traditional risotto with arborio rice. Or go lazy woman and use leftover rice. Add hot broth and stir until you get the creaminess you desire.
Swap the smoked apple sage sausages (made with gluten) for one of your choosing.
If you don’t intend to keep this asparagus risotto vegan, I strongly recommend shaving parmesan, pecorino, or grana padano cheese as a finish. This smoked apple sage sausage is a vegan sausage with great flavor so I recommend a similar pork, chicken, or turkey sausage. It has a light sweetness to complement the savory, meaty texture.
Can’t find green garlic? Used 2 cloves of garlic instead. It will add a richer flavor, but is equally delicious. Fresh, spring asparagus is the start of this orzo risotto but don’t let that stop you from making a similar dish in other seasons. Tender, roasted carrots or parsnips would be excellent with garlic and mushrooms. Or try it with roasted butternut squash in the fall.