Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Summer risotto: spinach and asparagus

on July 23, 2011

As you know, hubby has a thing for asparagus. But it’s rare to find really nice, good quality asparagus. And also, once it’s been in the fridge for a week or so, it’s not as nice in any case. So a good way of utilising all that flavour and essence of asparagus, without subjecting yourself to boring and woody stuff, is to put it in risotto. I’ve previously blogged about a champagne ristotto that has griddled asparagus on top, but this is one with asaparagus going through it.

I actually combined two recipes. One was for a ‘green risotto’ which had spinach and fresh herbs in it and the other was for asparagus. Both from my 500 Italian recipes cookbook, which you can find here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Italys-500-Best-ever-Recipes-Photographs/dp/1780190433/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1310988414&sr=8-1

If you can get baby spinach, it is better for this, but I just had normal spinach and it tasted fine – just be sure to remove the woody stalks first. And a tip for removing the woody bits of asparagus. Grab either end of the asparagus stalk, and gently bend each end downwards until it snaps – where it snaps is where the woody bit ends.

Spinach and asparagus risotto

Serves 2

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150g arborio risotto rice
  • 125ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock (or vege stock if making for veges)
  • 200g spinach, either baby or grown with stalks removed.
  • 30g parmesan cheese, grated
  • knob of butter
  • salt & pepper
  1. Peel the stalks of the asparagus, up to their heads. Then place in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the water, and run under cold water to prevent further cooking. Leave to cool and then chop into 1 inch pieces placing the stalks and heads in separate piles.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan or wok or large deep sided frying pan, on a gentle heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry until softened. Add the rice, stiring until mixed with the oil and the grains turn translucent. Add the wine, and allow to bubble and reduce.
  3. When the wine is almost completely absorbed, add a ladle of the stock, stiring in a clockwise, semi circular fashion until absorbed. Repeat with the rest of the stock.
  4. About 10 minutes into the rice cooking, add the asparagus stalks, stiring well. continue adding the stock a ladle at a time. When you run out of stock, continue with the reserved asparagus water.
  5. When the rice is nearly done (you can tell this when it’s mostly clear but there’s a small bit in the middle that’s still opaque) add the asparagus heads and the spinach stiring well. Add another ladle of stock/water
  6. When the rice is cooked (when it goes completely clear, but only just – you don’t want it mushy), turn off the heat. Add the parmesan, butter and seasoning, stir in to combine and leave for about 3 minutes.
  7. Serve into bowls with a glass of the remaining wine and enjoy a lovely summer dinner dish.
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