Thursday, 19 May 2011

Risotto agl' aparagi – Risotto asparagus

Resist the temptation to add mascarpone

Close by where we live  is England’s best asparagus from Worcestershire and above all Goodman’s at Great Witley where a fat bunch sells for £3 and a large bag of all sorts costs hardly any more. As well as a risotto, I was able to make a dish of asparagus and chard stuffed pancakes al forno for £4.

It’s hard not to go a bit stupid about asparagus – during the season I could eat it every day. The mania is widespread in this part of the world. Out walking last weekend I noticed a restaurant in Evesham on the banks of the River Avon offering a three course asparagus banquet including asparagus ice cream. They understand this in Altedo, a village in Bologna province, where the annual asparagus festival in honour of the asparago verde di Altedo starts this weekend. Local restaurants  there compete to display the vegetable’s infinite culinary flexibility.

Anyway, back to the risotto: the key thing as always is to ensure that the star of the dish isn’t overwhelmed by an overdose of butter, cheese and cream as in many restaurants outside Italy. In its homeland, risotto is a simple dish. So, the flavour depends on the rice, the stock, the parmesan, some butter and of course the asparagus.

Enough for 4.


3tbl olive oil

30g butter

1 large onion

2 garlic cloves

250g Arborio rice

125ml dry white wine

500ml chicken stock (or a stock cube dissolved in water)

300g asparagus

75g prosciutto

75g parmesan

salt and pepper


1. Begin by preparing the asparagus. Cut off and reserve the spears, that is, the top few centimetres. Snap off and dispose of the bottom woody part of the stem. Chop the remaining stem into 1 cm. lengths.

2. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil with half of the prosciutto cut into ribbons.

3. Add the rice and half the butter and fry until the rice is coated in the butter.

4. Add the wine and turn up the heat to drive off the alcohol.

5. Now add the stems of the aparagus and then begin to add the stock, just enough for the rice to cook rapidly without sticking on the bottom of the pan.

6. When the rice has just reached the al dente stage, add the remaining butter, prosciutto, the parmesan and the asparagus spears. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. Serve.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad I found your blog! Great recipes, this risotto looks so lovely. Am following so I can come back for more!