Sunday, 17 April 2011

Asparagus risotto

It's amazing how many times a risotto has come to my vegan rescue in restaurants or at catered bashes of one sort or another. Dead easy, always lovely and of course you can chuck all manner of gubbins in at the end to make it funky and adventurous. I've got basil in this one, but you could try mint, or a little rosemary; in terms of other ingredients asparagus is always a winner but then so are mushrooms, aubergine...


350g risotto rice
Small onion, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
175 g asparagus
4 cloves garlic
500ml vegetable bouillon or stock
200ml White wine
200ml soya milk
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
Fresh basil and toasted pine nuts to serve
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok, finely chop the onion, and then fry with the rice for 5-10 minutes. Then add the garlic, and start to add the vegetable stock or bouillon*, and the wine, stirring continuously and adding more as the liquid is absorbed. You can start with the stock, or the wine, it doesn't make a great difference in my experience. This process should take around 20 minutes, but you can pretty much gauge it by tasting a grain of rice every so often to see if it's done.

While all this stirring is going on, chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces as steam for 4-5 minutes; now would also be a good time to toast the pine nuts lightly in a dry frying pan.

When you're happy with the consistency of your risotto mixture, add the soya milk, asparagus, peas and chopped basil and continue to stir over a low heat for another couple of minutes.

Serve with the toasted pine nuts, some more fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

*As with previous postings on this blog, I've indicated vegetable bouillon or stock. We tend to use a low salt vegetable bouillon powder that is widely available and is my preferred option, for me it's slightly thicker and has a bit more umame than regular stock.

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