( SERVES 6 )
Make the most of the short asparagus season. Be careful not to throw away the cooking water when making this risotto. It is needed for extra flavour.
|1||Salt, to season (check the saltiness of the stock first)|
|3 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|¼ cup||Parmesan cheese, grated|
|3 Tbsp||Flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped|
|500 ml||Vegetable stock|
|500 g||Asparagus spears|
|500 g||Risotto rice, (vialone nano, arborio, or carnaroli)|
|1||Freshly ground black pepper, to season|
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan with some salt.
- Trim the asparagus, then cut off the tips and keep these aside. Chop the stalks into 3cm lengths and simmer for 5 minutes in the boiling water. Drain the spears, retaining the cooking water.
- Purée the asparagus using a stick blender or food processor, adding a little of the cooking water. Return the rest of the cooking water to the saucepan and quickly blanch the tips for 2 minutes. Remove the tips with a slotted spoon, then add the stock to the cooking water. Keep both lots of asparagus aside, separately.
- Heat the oil in a large, wide ovenproof saucepan or risotto pan. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and garlic, then add to the pan. Stir and cook gently until soft but not browned.
- Add the rice and stir over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the stock and asparagus water, then stir it into the rice. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover the pan with an ovenproof lid and put it into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. The rice should be firm but tender, with most of the stock absorbed.
- Remove the pan from the oven, and over the heat beat in the butter, parmesan and pureed asparagus.
- To serve, add the parsley and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve in bowls and garnish with reheated asparagus tips.