Asparagus, mint and lemon risotto

Asparagus, mint and lemon risotto

A really posh risotto!  Uncle Jamie gave me the flavour ideas for this one…. but it has been altered somewhat. (Muddified, as they say!)

Prep:           1o mins.

Cooking:      30 mins.

Course:        Lunch, Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         2: Easy

Find:

  • Up to a litre of veggie stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 1 small clove garlic (no more)
  • 150ml vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 100g butter
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Big bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • Chopped parsley
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Smoked salmon trimmings or mushrooms to sprinkle on the top?

Method:

  • Snap off the ends of the asparagus, then finely chop your asparagus stalks into little 5mm thick discs, keeping the spear tips whole. (Don’t throw the asparagus ends away – see Tricks’n’Tips!)
  • Put onion, garlic and celery into a processor and blitz.
  • Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan and keep it on low until process is finished .
  • Put the olive oil and butter in a separate large pan, add the onion and celery and cook very gently for about 15 minutes, without colouring, until soft.
  • Turn up the heat to max and add the rice and a little more butter just to help things along.  This is when you have to be careful to keep it all on the move or it will stick and be knackered with a capital F.
  • Quickly pour in the vermouth or wine. Keep stirring!
  • Turn the heat down to minimum now.  Add the stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Turn the heat down to medium so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly, and continue to add ladles of stock until it has all been absorbed. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
  • Pour in the rest of the stock and all of the asparagus. Bring it all to the boil, then turn the right heat down to simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed. You may need to add a little boiling water soon – have it ready.
  • Turn off the heat; beat in the butter and Parmesan, chopped mint leaves (not stalks), almost all the lemon zest and all the juice.
  • Season to taste.  It may start to become a little thick in texture; if so, a splash or two of boiling water and a gentle stir will help loosen it.
  • Serve it quickly with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a slice of lemon.
  • Have something ready to go on top.  Shredded smoked salmon?  Cooked wild mushrooms?  Toasted pine nuts?

Jamie has some good ideas, eh?

He’s got lots of books out – ask Santa for one or two!

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