Spring risotto with asparagus, fennel and spinach

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Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1 fennel, end removed and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 80g asparagus, washed, end removed. Cut off the spears and slice the stalks.
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 large handful basil, finely chopped
  • 150g Arborio rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock or water mixed with 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • Knob of butter
  • 30g Parmesan, finely grated
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • A good grind of black pepper

Timings

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Spring risotto with asparagus, fennel and spinach

To me, asparagus should be celebrated as it’s such a short season (6-8 weeks), and I’d happily eat them every day of the week. Here is Spring risotto 2.0, with all the lashings of Parmesan and butter, and this time with a load more vegetables included too. The basil creates layers of interest and the spinach and spring onion add heaps of flavour and texture. Meat-loving Jase gave it a big veggie thumbs up. Not one to be missed!

Method

In a saucepan, bring the stock to the boil.

In a large frying pan, heat the rapeseed oil and chopped fennel over a medium heat. SautΓ© for 10 minutes, or until the fennel has softened.

Add the garlic and rice and continue to stir for 2 minutes.

Turn up the heat and add the wine. Continue stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add a ladle of hot stock and continue to stir until the liquid is absorbed into the rice.

Once you are down to the last two ladles of stock, add them in with the asparagus, spinach, basil and spring onions. Give the risotto a gentle stir for two minutes until the spinach wilts.

Remove it from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice and taste. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and leave it to rest for three minutes before serving so that the flavours infuse and the risotto rice relaxes.

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If you happen to have a Parmesan rind lurking in your fridge, add it to the risotto when you add the first ladleΒ of stock. It’s non-essential but adds a beautiful layer of creaminess (and saves throwing the rind away!)”

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