Monday, 21 April 2014

Asparagus, Mint & Lemon Risotto

This is pretty much a Jamie Oliver recipe really - you can find the original here: I think my only real adaptation was to add the fried prosciutto as a garnish, the salty savouriness worked pretty well.

Jamie’s idea of finely slicing the risotto lengths into little discs and keeping the tips whole is a good one: it gives a really good asparagus flavour to the risotto itself and of course you will get a delicious whole tip in (nearly) every bite.

Anyway, this is one of my favourite risotto recipes so give it a try.

Asparagus, Mint & Lemon Risotto
Serves 2

For the risotto base
250ml vegetable stock
½ tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, trimmed and finely chopped
150 g risotto rice
65 ml vermouth
For the risotto
100g asparagus, finely chopped up until the tips
250 ml vegetable stock
12.5g butter
1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus a block for grating
handful fresh mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 slices of prosciutto, lightly fried, to serve

Bring the stock to a low simmer in a small saucepan.

In a separate large pan cook the shallot and celery very gently until soft but not coloured in the olive oil. About 15 minutes.

Add the rice and turn up the heat. Stir constantly for a couple of minutes so that the rice or vegetables don’t catch and then quickly pour in the vermouth. Keep stirring until the vermouth has evaporated.

Turn the heat down to medium-low (as you cook you will need to adjust this as necessary: you don’t want the rice to cook too quickly so that it has a stodgy outside but uncooked middle, nor too slowly or it will become a stodgy but gloopy mess).

Add a ladleful of stock to the rice. Stir often (but you don’t need to be a slave to it) until the liquid has been fully absorbed before adding the next ladleful.

Continue to add ladlefuls of stock until it has all be absorbed and the rice has begun to soften but is still al dente. This can be anywhere from 15-30 minutes so towards the end of the cooking time you’ll need to be a bit vigilant. You may also need some more stock.

Put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and pour in half the stock, the risotto base and the finely sliced asparagus stalks and the tips.

Stir constantly and gently bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed.

Add the rest of the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice and asparagus are cooked. Check the rice often - you don’t want to overcook it so it should hold its shape but be soft and creamy and the whole kind of oozy.

Turn off the heat and quickly stir in the butter, Parmesan, mint, lemon juice and most of the lemon zest. Check the seasoning carefully and adjust if necessary.

Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile you can quickly fry off the prosciutto.

Serve the risotto in bowls with a slice of fried Prosciutto atop each, drizzle over a little olive oil and scatter with the remaining lemon zest.

Have some more Parmesan on the table so you can add more if you like.

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