Asparagus, mint & lemon risotto

Asparagus & Mint risotto

Serves 8

  • For the risotto base

  • 1 litre organic vegetable or chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

  • 4-5 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped

  • 600 g risotto rice

  • 250 ml vermouth or dry white wine

  • For the risotto

  • 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed and discarded

  • 700 ml organic vegetable or chicken stock

  • 50 g butter

  • 1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus a block for grating

  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves picked and finely chopped

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • extra virgin olive oil

Finely chop your asparagus stalks into tiny discs, keeping the tips whole. Then start making your basic risotto recipe.



Stage 1:

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the olive oil in a separate large pan, add the onion and celery and cook very gently for about 15 minutes, without colouring, until soft. Add the rice (it will sizzle) and turn up the heat. Don't let the rice or veg catch on the bottom of the pan, so keep it moving.



Stage 2:

Quickly pour in the vermouth or wine. You will smell the alcohol immediately, so keep stirring all the time until it has evaporated, leaving the rice with a lovely perfume.



Stage 3:

Add the stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Turn the heat down to low so the rice doesn't cook too quickly, otherwise the outside of each grain will be stodgy and the inside hard and nutty (you don't want to cook it too slowly either, or it will turn into rice pudding!) and continue to add ladlefuls of stock until it has all be absorbed. This should take about 14 to 15 minutes and give you rice that is beginning to soften but is still a little al dente. Put to one side.



Now put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and pour in half the stock, followed by all your risotto base and the finely sliced asparagus stalks and the tips. Stirring all the time, gently bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Add the rest of the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice and asparagus are cooked. You might not need all your stock. Be careful not to overcook the rice - check it throughout cooking to make sure it's a pleasure to eat. It should hold its shape but be soft, creamy and oozy, and the overall texture should be slightly looser than you think you want it.



Turn off the heat, beat in your butter and Parmesan, mint, almost all the lemon zest and all the juice. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a minute. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a scattering of lemon zest and a block of Parmesan on the table.

Nutritional Information

Asparagus, mint & lemon risotto

Simple, clean and delicious flavours

0 foodies cooked this
This gorgeous green risotto really shows off the flavours of the asparagus
Serves 8
1h 05m
Not too tricky
Method

This is such a simple, clean and delicious risotto. When buying asparagus, have a look around because there are lots of varieties available now - purple-tipped, white, thin straggly Japanese, wild Spanish and dozens of good locally grown English. In this recipe, the stalks are finely sliced to an inch below the tips - this will give you lots of flavour from the stalks and you'll then have those whole beautiful tips as a bit of a prize! There are variations on this risotto that I love to do, like sprinkling in a little picked crab or lobster meat or fresh, peeled prawns or sliced scallops - all of these work particularly well with asparagus if you fancy a little upgrade. (If you do decide to add any of these seafood suggestions, then reduce your Parmesan by half.)

Finely chop your asparagus stalks into tiny discs, keeping the tips whole. Then start making your basic risotto recipe.

Stage 1:
Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the olive oil in a separate large pan, add the onion and celery and cook very gently for about 15 minutes, without colouring, until soft. Add the rice (it will sizzle) and turn up the heat. Don't let the rice or veg catch on the bottom of the pan, so keep it moving.

Stage 2:
Quickly pour in the vermouth or wine. You will smell the alcohol immediately, so keep stirring all the time until it has evaporated, leaving the rice with a lovely perfume.

Stage 3:
Add the stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Turn the heat down to low so the rice doesn't cook too quickly, otherwise the outside of each grain will be stodgy and the inside hard and nutty (you don't want to cook it too slowly either, or it will turn into rice pudding!) and continue to add ladlefuls of stock until it has all be absorbed. This should take about 14 to 15 minutes and give you rice that is beginning to soften but is still a little al dente. Put to one side.

Now put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and pour in half the stock, followed by all your risotto base and the finely sliced asparagus stalks and the tips. Stirring all the time, gently bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Add the rest of the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice and asparagus are cooked. You might not need all your stock. Be careful not to overcook the rice - check it throughout cooking to make sure it's a pleasure to eat. It should hold its shape but be soft, creamy and oozy, and the overall texture should be slightly looser than you think you want it.

Turn off the heat, beat in your butter and Parmesan, mint, almost all the lemon zest and all the juice. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a minute. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a scattering of lemon zest and a block of Parmesan on the table.

Whether it's delicious vegetarian or vegan recipes you're after, or ideas for gluten or dairy-free dishes, you'll find plenty here to inspire you. For more info on how we classify our lifestyle recipes please read our special diets fact sheet, or or for more information on how to plan your meals please see our special diets guidance.

Nutritional Information Amount per serving:

Calories

Calories are just a unit of energy. If you eat more than you use you can gain weight, or lose it if you don't eat enough. How much you need depends on your weight, gender and how active you are, but it's around 2,000 a day.

Carbs

Carbs are a great source of energy and, excluding foods such as potatoes, are made from grains - like bread, pasta and cereal. We all need carbs, but try to make them all wholegrain by sticking to brown bread, rice and pasta - they are much more nutritious.

Sugar

We all deserve a treat sometimes, but try to limit your sugar intake. Most of your sugar should come from raw fruit and milk, because they give us lots of nutrients too. Always check food labels so you know how much sugar you're eating.

Fat

We all need to eat a small amount of fat because it protects our organs and helps us grow. But we need to be careful about how much fat we eat and what kinds of fat, because in higher levels it's associated with weight gain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Saturates

Saturated or "bad fats" are in beef, pork, chicken skin, butter, cream and cheese. Too much can be bad for our heart and cholesterol levels, but unsaturated or "good fats" in fish, nuts, avocados and some oils can help keep our hearts healthy if eaten in moderation.

Protein

Protein helps our muscles to grow and repair, as well as providing you with essential amino acids. When it comes to protein, try to eat leaner sources such as chicken and fish or non-meat sources such as eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and pulses.
  • Calories 463
    23%
  • Carbs 67.2g
    26%
  • Sugar 5.4g 6%
  • Fat 13.1g 19%
  • Saturates 5.0g 25%
  • Protein 12.8g 28%
Of an adult's reference intake

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When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
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