This simple dish tastes intensely of asparagus and is a good
way to extend asparagus. It comes from my last book
Simply Veg: A Modern Guide to Everyday Eating (see Books). Don’t be put off
by the length of the method – it’s very easy to make and well worth the effort.
Serve the risotto with a pretty salad of mixed leaves
450g/1lb bunch asparagus, washed
30g/1oz unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 litre/1¾ pints good chicken or vegetable stock
310g/11oz Arborio or Carnaroli rice
15g/½ oz Parmesan, freshly grated + extra
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Wash the
asparagus. Cut off and discard the tough end of the stalks. Cut off the tips
and set aside. Working from the tender tip end of each asparagus stalk, cut a
2.5cm/1in length of the stalk into pea-sized slices. Add these to the tips.
Then roughly slice the remaining (slightly tougher) length of each stem and set
aside in another bowl.
2 Set a wide
heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the butter, and, once
melted, mix in the onion. Fry gently for 10 minutes, or until soft and golden.
3 While the onion
is cooking, divide the stock between 2 small saucepans. Bring both to the boil.
Add the second batch of roughly sliced asparagus stems to one of the pans.
Cover and once it has returned to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes, or until the
asparagus is very soft. Liquidise and, if fibrous, strain through a fine sieve
and return the asparagus stock to the pan.
4 Stir the
asparagus tips and pea-sized sliced stems into the softened onion. Fry for 2
minutes, then stir in the rice. Fry for a further minute, then mix in 2–3
ladles of plain hot stock. Stir regularly, gradually adding more stock as the
simmering stock is absorbed. Gradually add both the plain stock and the green
asparagus stock until all the stock is used up.
5 After 25–30
minutes, the rice should have cooked into a fluffy, slightly sloppy al dente risotto. Stir in the
Parmesan and season to taste. Serve immediately.