Perfect for a sophisticated dinner party. Serves six. Can be made a day in advance. Suitable for Vegetarians.
After following this recipe, you should end up with each grain of rice floating it its own sauce. This should be creamy, due to the starch of the rice mixing with the stock. Be careful when adding your stock, as too much will result in a wet rice pudding!
You will need:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ kg Asparagus
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- Bouquet-Garni of Thyme and Bayleaf
- Zest of half a Lemon and its juice
- 3 Flat Mushrooms
- 50g butter
- 2 ¼ pints Veg Stock
- 200g Risotto Rice
- ½ cup Dry White Wine
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan Cheese
- Parsley, Chive and Buckler Leaf Sorrel
To prepare your Asparagus, wash and cut off the tough, woody section at the base, this should be around an inch in length. Slice the remaining Asparagus stems into rounds. Keep some of the tips for garnish.
Begin by heating 6 tbsp of Olive Oil in a wide pan. Sweat the onions until soft, but still with no colour. Add the Bouquet Garni, diced Mushrooms, Lemon Zest and crushed Garlic.
Add the Asparagus rounds and sweat until soft. Add another 4 tbsp of Olive Oil and stir in the Risotto Rice. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes, until edges of the rice is opaque. Then add half a cup of White Wine and cook for two minutes. This will reduce the acidity.
Add the boiling Vegetable Stock, around two ladles to start. Begin on a high heat, stirring constantly. When the stock has been fully absorbed and steamed off, continue to add half a ladle at a time, until the rice is just chewable and 90% cooked.
If you are preparing this meal ahead of schedule, allow to cool and place in the fridge until you are ready to finish and serve.
To Cook and Serve- Remove from the fridge and place in large based saucepan. Add Lemon juice, freshly ground Black Pepper, Parmesan and the Parsley and Chives. Place on high heat and stir in a small ladle of stock (you can always make some more if you have run out), stir vigorously and add more stock until the Rice is al dente.
To finish, add 2 tbsp butter, check seasoning and then pour into bowls. Garnish with Sorrel, Chive Flowers and Beetroot tops, more fresh Parmesan and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Top with your reserved asparagus tips after you have soaked them in the stock.
Notes: Never add cream, to your Risotto, butter will lighten it instead.
Make stock with a Vegetable stock cube-not too strong, don’t bother adding any extra salt as stock cubes are usually quite salty already. For depth of flavour, add skins from onions, garlic and some fresh herbs.