I’ve always had a bit of a fear of risotto. It’s not something I make a lot, and I find the recipes always seem complex and scary; either warning me that I will either undercook the rice so it is the wrong consistency, or overcook it and end up with rice pudding. However, when I made this vegetable risotto, I found that this wasn’t the case at all. In fact, it was actually quite a calm and simple process. Best of all, it gave me a beautiful creamy risotto, full of healthy vegetables in under an hour!
It would seem that the key with this type of dish is patience. First of all, ensure all your ingredients are chopped in advance and ready to go when you actually start cooking. And next, recognise the fact that you will probably be stood over the stove stirring in stock for a good 20 minutes. This is important to make sure the rice cooks evenly. You need to add the stock very gradually, only adding the next ladle once the previous water has soaked in. Luckily, this is the only part of the recipe that takes any length of time – the rest of the prep is fairly quick.
My mum calls this meal my “All Green Vegetable Risotto” (note the colour of the vegetables, if that wasn’t obvious). I love the combination of the caramelised silky leeks, paired with the bitter taste of asparagus. Topped off with plenty of peas too to add some crunch. This dish is vegetarian, but you can mix it up and add whatever you like; maybe some crispy fried bacon pieces, or creamy aubergine would be nice – you can really make it your own!
If you want a risotto recipe that is simple and customizable, go ahead and give this one a try!
Asparagus Pea and Leek Risotto Recipe
- 1 large leek (or two small)
- 400 g asparagus (around 20 spears)
- 2 cups peas
- 5 shallots (or 2 onions)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 400 g risotto rice (2 cups)
- 1250 ml vegetable stock
- 100 g butter
- 100 g parmesan (grated)
- 250 ml white wine
- fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)
- Put the vegetable stock into a pan and place on a low heat. Keep it hot on the stove for later.
- Half the leek lengthways and then finely slice. Also finely slice the shallots and the garlic. Heat the butter in a wide pan and add the leek, shallots and garlic. Turn the heat to low and leave to cook for 10 minutes until the leeks are soft and reduced.
- Meanwhile, snap the tough bottom end off the asparagus spears and cut into 2 inch pieces. Sautee the asparagus in a little oil or butter in a pan for 5 minutes until they have turned a darker shade of green. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Once the leeks are soft, add the peas and the white wine. Cook on a medium heat and stir until the wine boils off. Then add the risotto rice and heat for another 5 minutes stirring to combine the ingredients.
- Now to add the stock. Still on a medium heat, add 1 ladle of the vegetable stock, and stir until the water is absorbed. Repeat this, adding 1 ladle every few minutes until the risotto is the desired consistency and the rice tastes cooked. This will take between 20 – 30 minutes. You may need less stock than the recipe says, or if you think the rice isn't cooked after adding all the stock, continue to add boiled water until it is.
- Quickly reheat the asparagus on a high heat, then stir into the risotto along with the parmesan. Season the risotto with salt and black pepper.
- Serve in pasta dishes with some fresh parsley to garnish.
Method in Pictures
Gather your ingredients
Heat your vegetable stock in a pan and keep on a low heat
Finely chop the leek, shallot and garlic
Chop the asparagus into 1 - 2 inch pieces
Saute the asparagus in a little oil or butter
After 5 minutes, take off the heat and season with salt and pepper
Cook the leeks shallots and garlic in a pan on a low heat for 10 minutes
Add the peas and the wine to the vegetables
Add the rice, mix in and heat for 5 minutes
On medium heat, add the stock 1 ladle at a time, stirring until the water is absorbed each time
Quickly reheat the asparagus on high, then add to the risotto
Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley
Serve and enjoy!