Asparagus Risotto with Prosciutto
So it's spring, and Asparagus season. This king of spring vegetables has more than its fair share of recipes on this site, for the very good reason that it is the King of Spring Vegetables. I love it, the Offspring love it and that's all we need as an excuse to find new ways to use it.
I have made asparagus risotto before (there may even be a recipe for it on here already) but for my recent birthday the Boy very kindly bought me a cook book from an Italian restaurant (well, specifically Venetian) called Polpo. It is centred around simple dishes with minimal ingredients well treated - classic Italian, and I will be cooking more of it over the summer, I am sure.
For now, I had asparagus, I had prosciutto left over from a recent pizza evening, so I was all set.
The result was gorgeous, creamy fresh and loved by all - these quantities do 4-6 people, I 2/3 them for 4 of us, but it was a bit scant
50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
A glass of white wine (I substituted half a glass of vermouth)
2 litres of chicken stock - note I only used about 1 ½ litres of the stock
A large bunch of asparagus - about 400g
300g risotto rice
1 handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
4-6 thin slices of prosciutto
• Put 10g of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat.
• Finely chop the onion and add to the pot and sweat for 15-20 minutes, or until transparent; stir periodically to prevent from sticking to the pan.
• Meanwhile cut the tough ends off the asparagus spears and discard.
• Blanche half the asparagus spears in salted boiling water for 3 minutes then immediately place in cold water and set aside
• Chop the other half of the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.
• Add the white wine to the onion, slightly turn up the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes.
• Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock up to a simmer in a separate pan.
• Add the rice and chopped asparagus to the onions; stir to completely coat; season with some pepper and stir.
• Now slowly begin to add the stock by the ladleful to the rice mixture and stir. Only add more stock when most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, but never let the rice absorb all the stock before adding more. Continuing adding stock until the rice has the right ‘bite’ (approximately 15 minutes). Make sure the risotto is still a little wet when you decide the rice is done, as it will continue to absorb liquid after you take it off the heat.
• Add a handful of Parmesan and the remaining butter to the risotto and stir a few times until combined.
• Take off the heat and cover the pot with a lid and let it rest for 5 minutes.
• Serve on a large plate with the blanched asparagus spears and a slice of prosciutto.