Spring Asparagus and Peas Risotto
Second instalment in the risotto “series”. Here is a special spring treat – combining asparagus and risotto for a lovely lunch or dinner. Risotto lends itself to many flavours. You can add vegetables to the risotto as it cooks, or add cooked vegetables to it at the end, when it is almost done. In this recipe I add the asparagus about half way through the cooking to allow the grains and asparagus to finish cooking at the same time. I t’s also nice to set aside a few pre-cooked asparagus tops to use as a garnish on top of the risotto. For me asparagus risotto is a spring classic.
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
A bunch thin asparagus
1/2 cups peas, optional
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts, chopped
Trim the asparagus stalks about a third of the way up from the root end or snap where they naturally break when you bend them. Read about how to handle asparagus here in the spring section of the What’s In Season above. Reserve a few asparagus stalks for garnish and cut the rest into 1 inch pieces. Steam the reserved stalks and set aside.
Melt butter, add onion and sauté until translucent and fragrant.
Add rice and toss to coat the grains with the butter.
Start adding the stock 1/4 cup at a time in accordance with the basic recipe (see post).
Half way through the cooking add the lemon juice, lemon zest, asparagus and peas. Taste and add a little salt and pepper.
Just before the risotto is ready add the butter, cheese and stir until melted. Add the pine nuts, taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
When the risotto is ready remove from heat and let rest a couple of minutes.
Scoop into individual bowls, garnish with remaining asparagus stems, grate more cheese on top and serve warm.