Every time Speedy cooks risotto, it’s better than the previous one. We had this asparagus, mint and lemon risotto for lunch today and, I tell you, with risotto this good, I’m learning to appreciate meatless meals more and more.
This risotto recipe was adapted from Jamie Oliver’s. We don’t cook large asparagus at home, only baby asparagus, so there are no woody stalks to cut or peel. We just cut off a small part of the base and use everything else.
The original recipe calls for vermouth or dry white wine. We don’t drink nor cook with dry wine so Speedy used what we have — a semi-sweet white wine. The broth used here was the liquid in which the tripe, which became the butter-marinated grilled ox tripe, was boiled. Because every bit of boiling liquid is saved and used in this house, when Speedy boiled the tripe, he added garlic, onion, carrots and peppercorns to the liquid. So, you can imagine how richly flavored this risotto dish is.
Asparagus, mint and lemon risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 cup short grain rice (we use Japanese rice)
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet white wine
- 3 to 4 cups bone broth
- 1 bunch baby asparagus (about 100 to 150 grams)
- 1 small handful fresh mint leaves chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- juice and finely grated rind of one lemon
- additional olive oil optional
- additional butter optional
- shaved Parmesan cheese
Heat the broth to a simmer.
Cut about an inch off the top of the asparagus. Set aside. Cut the stalks into rings about half an inch in length.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and celery and cook gently until soft. Add the rice, stirring to avoid the grains from sticking to the pan.
Pour in the wine. Cook, stirring, until the alcohol has evaporated.
Add the broth, a ladle at a time, stirring and adding more broth only after the last ladle has been absorbed. Cook until the rice is almost done. Then, turn off the heat and set aside.
In another pan, boil a cup of broth. Add the asparagus stalks. Boil for a minute. Add the asparagus tips and boil for another minute (baby asparagus needs only a minute or two to cook). Pour the asparagus, with the liquid, into the rice mixture. Cook over medium heat until the rice is done. The rice grains should retain their shape, and they should be creamy and not dry.
Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and rind. Taste. Add salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in an additional tablespoonful or so of butter, if you like, or drizzle with more olive oil.