Try Gordon Ramsay’s clever, shortcut way to make a fresh springtime risotto
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To keep the vegetables vibrant
For a risotto you want to keep a bit of bite in the vegetables. Plunging them into iced water stops overcooking and keeps their colour vibrant and their texture crisp. This technique is called 'refreshing', and the vegetables then just need a quick reheating before serving. It’s a useful tip for cooking ahead all green vegetables.
For tender asparagus
Cutting the asparagus into lozenge shapes not only makes a nice presentation, it also ensures that it cooks evenly. Keep the water gently boiling as rapid boiling destroys the texture of the asparagus.
Use the best rice
Both the Carnaroli and the Arborio varieties are good, but Carnaroli is a bit more robust. The type of starch in these grains gives creaminess to the dish yet the core of the grain retains a good 'al dente' bite. Cook it in gently boiling rather than rapidly boiling water, or the rice goes a bit furry on the outside and becomes watery.
For rice with a good texture
When adding the stock, add just a ladle at a time to moisten. Don’t flood the rice or it will burst and go watery. Also, keeping the stock on the boil means it will be absorbed more quickly when added.
Speed things up
Making a classic risotto can take up to 20 minutes. By blanching the rice beforehand and spreading it out to chill, you can halve the cooking time later on and still produce a freshly cooked risotto.