Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Asparagus and Lemon Risotto with Chili Prawns or Chili Mushrooms

Asparagus Risotto with Chili Prawns
Risotto is an Italian rice dish, whose fame is said to have come about through jealousy and rage. In 1574 a man named Valerius was put in charge of creating the stained glass windows for the Cathedral Duomo Di Milano. The windows were amazing but people mocked him, saying that it was not his skills but the herb saffron that created the brilliant colours. Valerius was furious and wanted the townspeople to suffer, so he planned his revenge. At his master’s wedding feast, he added masses of saffron to the rice that was being served as the main dish. Instead of causing distress, the saffron rice was an instant success and everyone wanted the recipe. 
Risotto is now a staple in the Italian diet and a popular dish worldwide. It is versatile and can be prepared with a variety of ingredients. These days some dishes use saffron, and some don't. This time I decided not to.

As I love asparagus and the season is ending soon, I wanted to make the most of this delicious ingredient by adding it to my recipe. The lemon zest gave the risotto a great kick.

Serves: 1 vegetarian, 1 meat-eater

200g risotto rice
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
400ml vegetable stock
100ml white wine
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
½ bunch of asparagus, woody bits removed, cut diagonally into 4 or 5, tips kept whole.
Few sprigs of basil, torn
Chunk of Parmesan
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Olive oil
Knob of butter
Black pepper

M: ½ garlic clove
½ red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Handful of jumbo prawns
V: ½ garlic clove
½ red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
A few mushrooms, sliced

Heat a small knob of butter and a glug of olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onion, garlic and half of the lemon zest until soft.

Add the rice and stir until the grain starts to appear almost see-through. Pour over the wine and smell the alcohol as it evaporates, stirring frequently so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Gradually add the stock a little at a time, only add more stock as the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue until the rice is cooked and the stock has been used up.

Stir in the asparagus with the final ladle of stock.

M: In a pan gently fry the chili and garlic in a little olive oil and toss in the prawns
V: In a pan gently fry the chili, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil for a few minutes.

Finally add the remaining butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil leaves to the risotto and finely grate over a thin layer or Parmesan cheese. Cover with a lid and leave to stand for a minute or two before giving it a shake and serving.

Serve with chili prawns or chili mushrooms.

1 comment:

  1. This one looks like something we would really enjoy making and eating. Might have to go and find some prawns, while the asparagus is still around. I only ever make mushroom risotto, so time for a change :)