Gemma's mum cooked this for us just before we moved to Cornwall, it was delicious, thanks Jamie and Sally!
For Risotto Base:
1 ltr Vegetable or Chicken Stock
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped
4-5 Celery Sticks, trimmed and chopped
600g Arborio Rice
250ml Vermouth or Dry White Wine
For the Risotto:
2 Bunches Asparagus, finely chopped with woody ends removed
700ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock
1 sml handful Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
1 bunch Fresh Mint
Zest and Juice of 1 Lemons
Sea Salt and Pepper
This recipe is to serve 8, reduce as need.
First make the risotto base, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the olive oil in a separate large pan, add the onion and celery and cook very gently for about 15 minutes, without colouring, until soft. Add the rice (it will sizzle) and turn up the heat. Keep stirring to stop rice or veg catching bottom of pan. Quickly pour in the vermouth or wine, keep stirring all the time until it has evaporated, leaving the rice with a lovely perfume. Add the heated stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Turn the heat down to low, continue to add ladlefuls of stock until it has all been absorbed. This should take about 14 to 15 minutes and give you rice that is beginning to soften but is still a little al dente. Put to one side.
Now put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and pour in half the risotto stock, followed by all your risotto base and the finely sliced asparagus stalks and the tips. Stirring all the time, gently bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Add the rest of the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice and asparagus are cooked. You might not need all your stock. Be careful not to overcook the rice - check it throughout cooking, it should hold its shape but be soft and creamy.
Turn off the heat, beat in your butter and Parmesan, mint, almost all the lemon zest and all the juice. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a minute. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a scattering of lemon zest and a block of Parmesan on the table - enjoy!