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.
- 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.
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- 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