A fresh, light, Italian-inspired risotto that is full of the treasures of a British spring garden. This melt-in-the-mouth vegetarian dish served with fried courgettes and asparagus tips is everything a traditional Italian risotto should be
- 50g butter
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 large onion
- 2 courgettes (approx 300g)
- 200g risotto rice
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- 1 glass white wine
- 1.25l / 1250ml vegetable stock, kept hot on a low heat
- 100g broad beans (frozen is fine)
- 100g garden peas (frozen is fine)
- 100g fine asparagus
- 1 bag baby spinach
- 50g Parmesan
- handful of fresh basil
- Start by preparing your veg. Once you get going with the assembly of the risotto you’re going to be doing a lot of stirring so you won’t be able to break away for chopping time so get all of this done before you begin anything else. If your spinach is “ready to eat” then simply snap off the stems and discard them. If the packaging suggests washing prior to use then snap off the stems and discard and wash in a large bowl of cold water and then strain onto a tea-towel and leave to dry. Grate (or very finely dice) your onion and two-thirds of the courgette. Dice the remaining courgette into half centimetre cubes. Zest and squeeze your lemon. Grate your parmesan, cut the woody ends off of your asparagus and discard, cut off the fine tips and put to one side and finely slice the asparagus stems into rounds.
- Melt the butter and a splash of oil in a sturdy frying pan, add the onion and gently fry until softened. Stir in the grated courgettes and rice, increase the heat and sizzle while stirring for 1-2 mins.
- Add the lemon juice and wine and let the mixture bubble over a medium-high heat whilst stirring constantly.
- Add the broad beans and half of the peas and sliced asparagus.
- When the liquid has just about been absorbed, add a ladleful of stock. Once absorbed again add another and stir again.
- Keep cooking like this for 20-25 mins until the rice is just tender and is creamy. Stir in the Parmesan and remaining peas and sliced asparagus and check for seasoning.
- Add the spinach, cover with a lid or baking sheet, and set aside of of the heat for 5 mins while you cook the remaining ingredients.
- Heat the remaining butter in and a splash of oil a small frying pan. Add the diced courgettes and asparagus tips, and fry over a high heat for 2-3 mins until golden and just softened. Divide the risotto between shallow bowls or plates, then scatter with the fried courgettes and asparagus tips along with any buttery juices and a few pinches of lemon zest.
TIP: Serve with focaccia bread and of course the rest of the white wine!