Risotto is a super simple mid-week dinner. You can do multiple variants and make it a different meal every time. It’s cheap and easy to make and freezes pretty well too. It’s also a sneaky way of getting vegetables into little ones. Molly loves risotto and it’s encouraged her to eat from a spoon.
Asparagus and lemon are a great combination. Other things we like to put in risotto include, smoked bacon, peas, broad beans and butternut squash (to name a few). For a basic risotto you need risotto rice (either Arborio or Carnaroli), onions, garlic, celery, wine and stock. The rest you can make up yourself (add things you have in the freezer like frozen vegetables or bacon).
For 4 adults you will need:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 5 sticks celery chopped very finely
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 500 g arborio rice
- 100 ml white wine
- 750 ml hot chicken or veg stock
- 1 bunch asparagus
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 40 g parmesan (and extra to serve)
Add the olive oil to a large heavy based pan and fry the onion and celery over a low heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Then add the rice and turn up the heat. Stir the rice into the onion mixture for a minute, then add the wine. Allow the alcohol to bubble off for a minute then turn the temperature down as low as possible.
Add the hot stock a ladle-full at a time to the risotto and stir the rice until the stock has been absorbed. Continue until all the stock has been added and absorbed. This should take about 20 minutes. Check to see if the rice is cooked (it should still have a little bit of ‘bite’ left in it but not be too hard). If the rice still isn’t cooked, continue cooking but add some boiling water instead of stock.
In parallel, cook the asparagus for 3 minutes (don’t over cook it – leave it crunchy in the middle). Chop the tips off to serve on top. Use a blender (or chop finely using a knife) to make a paste out of the asparagus stalks.
Once the rice is cooked, stir in the asparagus paste, lemon zest, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and allow the risotto to sit for a minute or two before serving. Top with the asparagus spears and a little extra grated parmesan.
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