English Asparagus is bang in season right now and provides a wonderful flavour. This recipe is more than enough for a main course but you could add a grilled chicken breast on top, and serve with a rocket salad with Parmesan tossed through.

Asparagus and Pea Risotto from The Peacock at Rowsley – serves 2 people.

Ingredients

  • 70g onion finely chopped
  • 5g garlic finely chopped
  • 25g olive oil
  • 160g Arborio risotto rice
  • 60g dry white wine
  • 485g chicken stock (made with a stock cube is fine)
  • 200g asparagus (preferably English)
  • 115g frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 40g Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 30g butter (cold diced)
  • 8g mixed fresh soft herbs (optional – e.g. chives, parsley, mint, chervil, but not dried)

Method

  1. Snap the woody bottom off the asparagus (about 3-4cm) and discard. Finely slice the stems of the asparagus about 1/2cm thick leaving the tips intact, approx 6cm long.

  2. Start the risotto by sweating the onion and garlic in a pan on low heat with the olive oil until they are soft but haven’t taken on any colour.
  3. Whilst the onions are cooking bring the chicken stock to the boil then turn off.
  4. Add the rice to the pan with the onions and cook on a low heat for 3 minutes until the edges of the rice appear translucent but again haven’t taken on any colour.
  5. Add the wine and turn up the heat slightly, cook while stirring until the wine has almost fully evaporated, this will prevent the risotto having an acidic raw wine taste to it.
  6. Add approx 100g of the chicken stock, give it a good stir with a wooden spoon and allow the stock to evaporate. Continue to add 100g at a time, stirring and letting it almost evaporate each time (you don’t need to stand stirring the risotto continually as long as you’re close enough to keep an eye on it, it will be fine).
  7. After 10 minutes add the asparagus slices and tips and continue to cook for another 5 minutes adding the stock as you go.
  8. After 5 minutes add the peas and cook for another 3 minutes then turn off the heat.
  9. Let it stand for a minute then add the grated cheese and butter and stir through, check for seasoning bearing in mind that the Parmesan will add salt.
  10. Stir through the fresh herbs if using and serve. Enjoy!