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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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);
- 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
- Finely dice the carrots, celery and 2 of the onions and put in a pan with the water;
- 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;
- 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.
- 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);
- Add the rice and cook, gently stirring until the rice is covered with oil and starts to go opaque;
- Add the wine and simmer until the wine is nearly all absorbed;
- 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;
- 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;
- To finish, stir in the parmesan cheese, lemon zest, asparagus tips and the butter;
- 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.