• 1 bunch of asparagus (about 250g)
  • 300g fresh peas, podded and pods reserved, or use 100g frozen peas
  • 30g parmesan or vegetarian alternative, finely grated, plus the rind, if available
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (or chicken stock if not vegetarian)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine or vermouth
  • 30g cold butter, cut into cubes
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • handful of pea shoots (optional)


  • STEP 1

    Snap the woody ends off the asparagus stalks and roughly bash with the blade of a knife. Tip the ends into a saucepan along with the reserved pea pods, if using, and parmesan rind, if you have it. Pour over 700ml of the stock, set the pan over a low heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, cut the tips off the asparagus, set aside, and slice the stalks into rounds.

  • STEP 2

    Bring the rest of the stock to the boil in a small saucepan, tip in the asparagus tips and cook for 1 min. Scoop out into a bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside. Tip the rest of the asparagus and the peas into the pan and simmer for 3-4 mins until just tender. Tip half the cooked veg and the stock from the pan into a blender and blitz until frothy and green. Return to the pan with the whole vegetables and set aside.

  • STEP 3

    Heat most of the oil in a large, shallow saucepan over a low heat and cook the onions for 8-10 mins until soft but not translucent. Stir in the rice to coat in the onions and oil, turn the heat up slightly and cook for 3 mins. Pour over the wine or vermouth, then stir and simmer until the liquid has evaporated.

  • STEP 4

    Add a ladleful of stock from the large pan, avoiding the pea pods and asparagus ends, stirring vigorously and only adding more when the first ladle has been absorbed by the rice. Keep adding stock in this way until it is absorbed, the pan is dry and the rice is al dente (about 15 mins), then add the green stock, along with the veg, and cook for 3-4 mins more until the rice is just tender and you can see the bottom of the pan when you draw a spoon through it.

  • STEP 5

    Remove from the heat and leave to stand for a minute, then beat in the butter, most of the cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice and some seasoning. Stir until the cheese has melted and the risotto is thick. Serve in warmed bowls topped with the asparagus tips, pea shoots (if using), the rest of the cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Goes well with


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