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Risotto con Asparagi (Asparagus risotto)

Adapted from Carluccio's Complete Italian Food, Quadrille Publishing

 

900g fresh asparagus

4 tablespoons olive oil

85g unsalted butter

1 small onion finely chopped

350g risotto rice

About 1 litre vegetable stock

55g parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

 

Trim the asparagus and cut off about 4cm of the tip, and cut the remainder into 1cm lengths. Cook the stems in about 750ml water for 5 minutes, add the tips and cook for a few minutes more. Remove the asparagus and add the cooking water to the stock and make up to 1.75 litres. Slowly cook the onion in the butter and olive oil until soft, but not browned, add the rice and stir to coat with oil, and then the asparagus stems, reserving the tips. Add the boiling stock a ladleful at a time, stirring until it has been adsorbed before adding another. Continue until the rice is cooked (each grain is tender on the outside and firm, but not crunchy in the centre), and the risotto has a creamy, soft consistency. Stir in the asparagus tips, add the parmesan and season as necessary (parmesan is salty). Cover and rest for a few minutes before serving. (Serves 6)