Lemon risotto with parmesan asparagus

My family loves risotto! It is up there with the best comfort foods such as Chilli Con Carne, Spaghetti Bolognese and French onion soup. It is so versatile and you can always find different ways to flavour your risotto. You can cook it on a Monday for your family or even for a dinner party on a Saturday, it's always appropriate. It doesn't take long to make which is great when you are expecting people and don't have a lot of time. Just make a nice risotto with a green salad or a crusty bread :)

My favourite types of risotto are mushroom or the one I made yesterday, lemon. The lemon one you can just serve on it's own or do as I did yesterday and used the amazing English asparagus you can find in the shops now, a simple fresh fish like trout or even a chicken breast. I sometimes add some peas and have even gone a bit fancy and added some amazing Icelandic Langoustine.

The recipe is for four people but I always make a bit extra, just because it is that good! And believe it or not.... it doesn't really matter how much I make, we always find a way to finish it :)

Risotto

2 shallots or 1 red onion

2 stalks of celery

3 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon chopped fresh Thyme

Salt and pepper

Butter and olive oil for frying

400 grams of risotto rice such as Arborio

1 wine glass of white wine

1 liter of chicken stock

70 grams butter

100 grams freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Juice and zest of 1-2 unwaxed lemons

Small handful chopped parsley

Start by finely chopping onion, celery and garlic and fry on a medium heat in a bit of butter and olive oil. You just want this to soften and not brown. Add the Thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat up and add the rice. Cook for a further minute or two. Pour in the wine and keep stirring. Once the wine has cooked off you can start adding the warm stock a ladle at a time. At this time you really have to stand there and stir. This is not the time to be doing housework or setting the table, someone else has to do that. A risotto needs all your love and attention and a lot of stirring.

Keep adding stock and stirring until all the stock has been used. This should take around 20-30 minutes. Taste the rice, it should be soft on the outside and have a bit of a bite on the inside. If you need a bit more liquid you and either add more stock or just hot water. Once you’ve added the last ladle of stock you throw in the lemon zest and juice. Start with the juice of one lemon and taste to see if you need more. It shouldn’t be sour like a lemon, just have nice lemony taste.

Once cooked you remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter, Parmesan and parsley. You don’t want the risotto to stand once it is cooked. You need to serve it straight away.

Asparagus

1 packet or bunch of fresh asparagus

1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest of half a lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

35 grams of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Small pinch of salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 220° fan. Mix everything and rub over the asparagus. Make sure all of them get nicely coated in the mixture. Arrange on an oven rack and cook for 8-10 minutes until the cheese has started to take a bit of a color. Serve with the risotto.


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