Asparagus Risotto

I have recently tried a number of risotto recipes (some of which deserve a place here), but this one is my favourite so far. This is a Mat Follas’ recipe from his book Vegetable Perfection, which I randomly picked from the culinary section of the Noosa library. I have tried around a dozen of its recipes and, as of yet, it has failed to disappoint.

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There are two little details that make it different of other risottos:

1)  The stock: previously, I had only used the veggies’ cooking water as stock. This recipe calls for blending the veggies to make the stock – the texture becomes thicker and richer, and so does the flavour;

2) The lemon zest: the lemon adds a whole new level to the aftertaste of each bite. I now use it in all risottos I cook.

 

Suggestions:

  • To save time, get started on the stock and while it’s simmering do the remainder of the preparation work;
  • Don’t do as I usually do – make sure to read the entire recipe before getting into it;
  • Serve immediately.

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So, without further ado, here’s the What and How. The Where and When should be in a kitchen near you, as soon as possible. You’ll be able to answer the Why easily enough.

INGREDIENTS:

Stock

  • 4 carrots, peeled;
  • 2 celery sticks;
  • 2 brown onions;
  • 1l water (I used 1.2-1.3l)
  • 400g asparagus (I used around 600g);
  • 80g spinach leaves (I used 120g);

Risotto Proper

  • 1 brown onion;
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced (I love garlic so I used 4 big ones);
  • 350g Risotto rice (make it ½ Kg for me);
  • 200ml white wine
  • 80g parmesan cheese (120g for me)
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • a knob of butter
  • olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

 

METHOD

Stock

  1. Finely dice the carrots, celery and 2 of the onions and put in a pan with the water;
  2. Trim 2.5cm of the base of the asparagus and discard. Trim a further 2.5cm, finely slice and place in the stock water. Keep the asparagus tips for later;
  3. Bring the stock to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer for 2 minutes, then blend the stock with a handheld blender until smooth. Stock done.

Risotto Proper

  1. Add a little oil to a large non-stick pan. Finely dice the remaining onion and add to the pan together with the garlic and cook over a very low heat until just translucent (don’t let it start turning gold);
  2. Add the rice and cook, gently stirring until the rice is covered with oil and starts to go opaque;
  3. Add the wine and simmer until the wine is nearly all absorbed;
  4. Constantly stirring, add half of the asparagus stock and a pinch of salt and continue cooking on a low simmer until all of the stock is absorbed;
  5. Continue adding the remaining stock a little at a time until the rice is cooked and has just a little bite when tasted – there should be no excess liquid;
  6. To finish, stir in the parmesan cheese, lemon zest, asparagus tips and the butter;
  7. Taste and bask in gratefulness for having read this.

 

Give it a try and give me some feedback on how you went and any suggestions. I want to try it again with your bits and tweaks.

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