Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto

Contrary to what you may hear, risotto is very easy to make. Using a shop bought vegetable stock is absolutely fine for this dish. The organic Kallo stock cubes are great and are readily available.

400g of roughly chopped asparagus

Two pints of vegetable stock
Two tablespoons of olive oil
One knob of butter
One onion finely chopped
Two cloves of garlic finely chopped
400g of risotto rice –(I use Arborio)
Two wine glasses of dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g of butter
120g of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (ensure it’s vegetable rennet)

Steam the asparagus for three to four minutes or until tender and set aside, also prepare the stock at this point. In a separate pan place the olive oil and the knob of butter, add the onion and garlic and allow to cook very slowly for about fifteen minutes without colouring. Add the rice and turn up the heat so that the rice lightly fries, stirring all the time. After one minute the rice will become slightly translucent. Add the white wine and continue to stir. Once the wine has cooked into the rice add the first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer. One the first ladle of stock has been absorbed continue to add ladle by ladle, stirring continuously, allowing each ladle to absorb before adding the next. This should take about fifteen minutes. Check to see that the rice is cooked but still has a slight bite (if the rice is still not cooked after you have used all the stock, add some boiling water). Check the risotto for seasoning. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan. Add the steamed asparagus cover and allow to rest for two minutes – this ensures a creamy risotto. Serve on warm plates. Serves 4

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