Friday, March 23, 2012


Friday night is "comfort food night" and for me, the two great comfort foods of the world are mashed potato and risotto.  As I had a supply of the Sicilian asparagus I showed you yesterday, this evening it had to be asparagus risotto.

These quantities will serve four as a starter:

What really crowns a nice, creamy risotto is a little butter stirred in at the end and for this one I made some lemon butter.  All you do is add some grated lemon rind to about 125 gr unsalted butter, wrap the butter in foil and let it firm up again in the fridge while you prepare the risotto. 

Trim the hardest stalks from c. 350 gr asparagus, then cut it into small pieces [best done with a scissors]. Sicilian asparagus has small, thin spears which you will lose if you try to keep them separate from the cut-up stalks, as some recipes suggest, so just rinse all the asparagus together, then throw it into a pan of boiling, salted water and simmer until it is just tender - 15 - 20 minutes.  

Meanwhile, chop a small white onion or half a medium one finely with a stick of celery. [Sicilian celery is very thin so you won't need much if you are using another kind.]  Drain the asparagus and set aside.

Have 500 gr arborio or other risotto rice ready and in a jug, have ready 150 ml white wine and 550 ml water. In a wide pan, heat 2 tablesp olive oil and add the onion, celery and just a little of the rice.  Stir it all around but don't let the onion brown. After a couple of minutes add the rest of the rice, all the asparagus, seasoning to taste and enough of the water and wine mixture to just cover the mixture.  Over a medium heat, stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid, then add half the remaining liquid and simmer till the rice has absorbed this too. Now add the last of the liquid and simmer till absorbed.  [The whole absorption process will probably take about 20 mins.]

Off the heat, quickly stir in a generous couple of tablesp of grated parmesan, grana or ragusano cheese.  Spoon the risotto into serving bowls, add a generous knob of the lemon butter to each and you're done!  

As I've said many times before, there is no secret to preparing a good risotto.  In my opinion, you just need:
- the right kind of rice
- a wide but not too deep pan
- the patience to add the liquid gradually 
- to remember that Italians like their risotto "wetter" than the Brits
- that all-important butter to stir in at the end!

This dish was just what I needed after a week at the chalk face!


Miss Footloose said...

Okay, I'll give this a try now. It sounds so delicious! Haven't yet mastered the art of risotto, so it's time.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I am flattered, Miss Footloose.

CherryPie said...

It looks delicious :-)

sally in norfolk said...

Risotto is something i have never made... I think i must put it on my list to make :-)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Cherie. Oh, you must, Sally.

Whispering Walls said...

Sounds really good.

James Higham said...

Yum, yum and triple yum. You always reducing me to a gibbering wreck, Welshcakes.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you both, WW and James.


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