Thursday, 5 January 2012

Pea & asparagus risotto

1 pint vegetable or ham stock, 125g asparagus, 75g peas, 1 1/2 cups risotto rice, 1 tbsp chopped mint, 1 white onion, vermouth, butter. 
Serves: 4 Preparation: 30 minutes

Pea and mint risotto is a real favourite of mine - whether I give it savoury notes with a little gruyere or parmeggian, or whether I keep it fresh and clean, I never get bored of it. Adding asparagus seems to enhance the freshness of the peas, whilst adding the more complex, nutty savoury notes that I would usually get from the cheese. Perfect if you don't do dairy or are trying to cut down! 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) Continue adding the stock, one ladle at a time, adding the mint, peas and aspragus with the second to last ladle of stock.

4) Finish with freshly grated black pepper and serve.

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