Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Friday night grown up champagne & asparagus risotto

on November 19, 2010

At the end of a working week, sometimes its nice to sit down to something a little bit special and a little bit grown up, and what could be more special or grown up than champagne risotto.  Of course, I don’t actually use champagne, who would, when you could drink it instead?!  No I used Cava this time and have used prosecco previously.  But it tastes delicious with either.

I must admit, I’m trying to get the blog more noticed, in particular by the people at wordpress who put together the foodpress feed of the food blogs on wordpress that they feature.  Now, I looked at the different parts they consider, and I have them all, except for the arty photos, so I’m trying to do more arty photos.  Let me know what you think.

I’ve had in mind for a while that I’d like to make this risotto again but unfortunately asparagus hasn’t been in season.  But, my husband loves asparagus and doesn’t know anything about which vegetables are in season when, and so bought some in the supermarket.  It wasn’t the best, but this is actually a great recipe for when asparagus isn’t at its best because you griddle it.

This is the queen of risottos though, and not one you make every day but, it is beautiful, and well worth trying.

I can’t remember where I found this out, it might have been Saturday Kitchen on BBC1!  But this is how you trim asparagus to get rid of the woody bit.  Grab either end of the asparagus in each hand, bend each end downwards until it snaps, and voila, the bit with the tip on the end is the bit you use and the other end is the woody bit you discard.  Who’d have thought it’d be so simple?!

Don’t be scared by risottos, it’s like paella or any other rice – look for it going transparent, then you know it’s done.  You do have to be a bit attentive with risotto, but don’t worry, just keep an eye on it and add the stock in small quantities and you won’t get baby food.

I originally got this out of Cook in Boots by Ravinder Bhogal, but I’ve since adapted it.  You can make this fully vegetarian by adding vegetable stock, but if you aren’t vegetarian then I recommend using chicken stock as the flavour is so much better.

Champagne and asparagus risotto

Serves 2

8 – 10 asparagus spears

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion finely chopped

1 garlic clove finely chopped

150-200g arborio or cannaroli risotto rice (I used 150g and had smallish portions – just the right amount if also having pudding)

150ml (ish) of dry prosecco, cava or champagne

500ml (you may need a bit more) chicken or vegetable stock

chopped fresh parsley

salt & pepper

30g parmesan cheese

a knob of butter (or margerine in my case)

  1. Heat the stock on the stove and keep warm
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a deep pan (I use a wok, but a large saucepan will do) on  a low heat
  3. Fry the onion in the oil until softened (but not coloured).  Add the garlic and fry for a further couple of minutes.
  4. Add the rice and coat in the oil.
  5. Add the cava and let it bubble and reduce, whilst stiring the rice.  When it’s absorbed, add a ladle of the stock, stir, and let it reduce.
  6. As the liquid evaporates each time, add another ladle until the rice is cooked (just transparent – I recommend tasting it as you get near to it being done).
  7. Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan, or use the grill.  Brush the asparagus (or the pan) with the remaining oil and place the asparagus in such a way that you get tiger stripes of chargrill across it.  Turn the asparagus so its striped on all sides.
  8. When the risotto is cooked, add the parsley and seasoning to taste.
  9. Remove from the heat, add the parmesan and butter, stir well and then leave to rest for a couple of minutes.
  10. Serve up the risotto and arrange the asparagus artfully on top.
  11. Scoff down whilst drinking the remaining cava!
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