Thursday, 5 January 2012

Almond & asparagus risotto

Asparagus, 75g almond slivers, 1 pint vegetable stock, 50g gruyere, 1 1/2 cups risotto rice, onion, butter, vermouth.

4 Preparation: 30 minutes

This might just be the best risotto I have ever created. Toasted almond and asparagus are perfect partners - the nutty, buttery flavour components of both ingredients fuse together perfectly and the triple hit of the nutty, caramel flavour of gruyere makes this risotto a completely hedonistic treat.
All risottos (no matter what the ingredients) can be made in 3 simple stages. The first is called tostatura - coating the rice in fat, the second involves cooking off some alcohol and the third involves releasing the starch from the rice one ladle of stock at a time.

1) Finely dice the onion and sautee in a little butter until soft. Add the risotto rice and stir until the rice becomes transparent, revealing a white dot in the centre and pour in a glug of vermouth.
2) Once the alcohol cooks off, add the first ladle of stock and stir through.

3) In a seperate pan, lightly toast the almond slivers, shaking and turning the pan until they just turn golden brown. Keeping a few to garnish the risotto, crush the toasted almonds in a mortar and pestle until they resemble fine crumbs.4) Continue adding the stock to the risotto, one ladle at a time, adding the ground almonds and aspragus with the second to last ladle of stock.
5) Stir through the grated gruyere, finish with freshly grated black pepper and the remaining toasted almonds and serve.

If you don't have any almonds, you could stir in a teaspoon of almond butter instead.

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