I love March, after the long dark days of Winter it’s good to see Spring arrive and get some light back in the world. To celebrate the arrival of warmer weather this week, and lighter evenings I thought I’d share this wonderful recipe with you all.
Literally ‘Springtime Risotto’ it can be made with any assortment of spring vegetables that takes your fancy. I love asparagus, and to celebrate the return of better weather (hopefully!) I thought I’d use that in my risotto.
For two people you need :
1 tb olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 stick of celery
1 small carrot
1 bunch of asparagus (approximately 6 or 7 long spears)
¾ cup of risotto rice
2 cups of vegetable stock
1tb chopped flatleaf parsley
As always with risotto, finely chop the shallot, garlic and celery and sweat gently in the olive oil for 5 – 10 minutes. Dice the carrot quite small and add to the veg to sweat.
Snap the woody stalks off the asparagus and cut the stalks into ¼” slices, keeping the tips whole, and set aside.
Add the rice to the vegetables and stir around in what juices there are in the pan, and then add the stock. You could stand at the stove and add the stock bit by bit until it is absorbed or do what I do – add it all in one go and stir from time to time.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer gently, stirring from time to time. You may need to add more boiling water if your rice has absorbed the stock too quickly so keep the kettle hot. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of rice you are using (Arborio, Carnaroli or Nano) but the risotto should cook somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes.
The consistency you are looking for is what the Italians call All’ Onda (with a wave) – it should be creamy and liquid enough so that when you draw your spoon through the pan the space fills up quickly, but it shouldn’t be sloppy. If your risotto seems at all dry simply add a little more boiling water from the kettle and stir it through until the right consistency is achieved.
After 5 or 6 minutes cooking time add the stems of the asparagus, and the tips for the last 5 minutes cooking time. (I like my vegetables so have some bite, so if you like yours softer add the asparagus stems when you add the stock and the tips after 10 minutes.)
When the risotto is cooked, wash and finely chop the parsley and use to garnish the risotto to give a final fresh green hit to the dish, finally and most importantly (!) an avalanche of parmesan will finish it beautifully.
Actually you could do what the Italians do and add a mantecatura of 1 – 2 tbs single (light) cream and the same amount again of parmesan cheese at the very end of the cooking time.
*If you have an open bottle of white wine to hand add a glug to the rice and stir until it is absorbed before you add the stock.