Creamy asparagus risotto with mint and parsley
Carers Trust is one of National Garden Scheme’s longest standing charity partners with our relationship going back to 1998.
The charity works to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member who is ill, frail, disabled or who has mental health or addiction problems. It does this through a UK wide network of local carer support charities and also provides grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives.
Caring for a family member can often lead to loneliness so one of the services offered by Carers Trust is the organisation of group activities, aimed at bringing carers together and providing some respite from the challenges of their daily lives. Some groups of carers have already visited gardens opened by the National Garden Scheme, and more group visits will be taking place over the summer.
Creamy asparagus risotto with mint and parsley
To celebrate the start of spring, Carers Trust has come up with a recipe that brings together asparagus, parsley and mint – all at their best in gardens across the UK right now.
If you like this beautiful risotto, look out for another lovely recipe from Carers Trust in the Autumn. That’s because Carers Trust is putting on a competition over the summer, asking carers to come up with their own recipes for summer drinks, cakes and snacks using summer ingredients. The winning entry will feature in our September newsletter. We hope to see competition contestants in our gardens soon for some inspiration!
- Bring the stock to a very low simmer in a large saucepan
- If you have a food blender take three pieces of the chopped asparagus stalks and put in the blender with one or two ladles of the stock. Blend well. You will now have an intense green liquid that you can add later to the risotto to give it a lovely light green colour. Reserve the liquid for later.
- In a separate saucepan melt the butter and oil together
- As soon as the butter and oil start to simmer, add in the garlic and stir quickly until it releases its smell.
- Add in the finely chopped onion, mix with the garlic and butter and let it sweat on a low heat until the onion turns soft – about 5 to 7 minutes
- Once the onion has turned soft, pour in the rice and stir well so the rice is well mixed with the butter and onion mixture.
- Now turn up the heat slightly and add the dry white wine – stir until the wine is absorbed into the rice.
- Add in a ladle of the simmering stock and continue to stir lazily. As soon as the stock is absorbed into the rice, add another ladle of stock, continuing to stir. Repeat this until the rice is fully cooked (it should take 20-25 minutes from adding the first ladle of stock). When the rice is nearly cooked, add in your ladle of reserved stock and asparagus mixture that you blended earlier.
- Once the rice is cooked turn off the heat, taste for seasoning, and add sea salt to taste.
- Now add the additional 50g of butter, most of the cheese (leaving some to sprinkle over the risotto), the chopped parsley, mint and lemon juice and almost all the zest. Stir quickly, then put the lid on the saucepan and let it rest for about 3-5 minutes, making sure the heat is off. This resting period will help the extra butter and cheese melt into the rice.
- Lift the lid and taste the rice to make sure the seasoning is correct – add extra salt if required.
- Serve onto warmed plates, with a sprinkling of extra cheese and the additional lemon zest on top, leaving room for a handful of rocket leaves on each plate.
- 300-350g of either arborio or carnaroli risotto rice
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery finely chopped
- 18 spears of English asparagus. Separate the stalks from the heads. Leave the heads whole and chop the stalks into 4 or five sections. Discard the chewy part at the base of each stalk.
- Approx. 800mls – 1 litre of either light chicken stock or vegetable stock, warmed up to a very low simmer. You may not need all the stock but it is better to have too much rather than run out before the rice is cooked.
- 1 large glass of dry Italian white wine – dry Orvieto, Frascati or Soave would all work well.
- About 150gs of butter, and a splash of olive oil. You will need an additional 50g of butter to finish the dish.
- Juice and zest of one squeezed lemon
- A large handful of finely grated parmesan or pecorino cheese – or use a mix of both cheeses if preferred.
- large handful of finely chopped fresh parsley (including stalks) and leaves of mint (stalks removed).
- 80g of fresh rocket leaves