Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Asparagus and Pea Risotto

With the summer neither here nor there, my appetite is all over the place. Do I want a sexy salad or a hearty casserole? What do I put on my shopping list? Such decisions eh. Anyway, with a view to pitching a dish somewhere between Spring and Autumn, I elected on a light and fresh risotto. The only thing to deliberate on was whether mint and Parmesan went together. Mint goes with peas and asparagus but you can't have a risotto without oodles of cheese. I tried them together raw....it wasn't happening! Oh sod it I thought, if it tastes awful I won't mention it in the blog.

The dish is very easy, just requires a little TLC standing over the rice base adding the stock. It's just the basic risotto recipe but has a much lighter, fresher taste and texture than some others may have. Takes about 30 minutes to make and the cost per person is about

Ingredients (for 2 people) : 150g arborio rice, medium onion finely diced, 400ml veg or chicken stock, 1/2 glass dry white wine, 12 asparagus spears, 150g frozen peas, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 knobs butter, large handful of grated Parmesan, 1 tbsp finely chopped mint, freshly ground black pepper

1. In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes. Drain, then tip into a bowl of iced water. You can add the frozen peas to this bowl halfway through cooking the rice.
2. Gently saute the onion and garlic in half the butter and the olive oil until soft.
3. Add the rice and coat with the mixture. As soon as the rice starts to crackle, add the wine and cook off the alcohol. Next add two ladles of the stock. Tip. Keep the stock on a gentle simmer throughout.
4. Gradually add stock until rice is almost ready. Then pour in the vegetables and stir in gently.
5. Add the remaining butter, plenty of pepper, the cheese and half of the mint and mix thoroughly.
6. Pile onto warm plates and then top with some more mint.

Oh, by the way, the mint works well. As the cheese has already melted in, the tastes do not clash. The al dente texture of the veg against the creamy rice is good and it just tastes fresh and erm.....summery!

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