Recipe Phillippa Cheif itz
200–250g asparagus pieces about 5 cups hot home-made chicken or vegetable stock 200–250g asparagus tips 3T unsalted butter 1 onion, chopped a pinch of salt 1 garlic clove, crushed 1½ cups risotto rice 1½ cups dry white wine about 100g Parmesan
cheese, in one piece milled black pepper 2–3T cream chervil sprigs,
Serves 4–6 as a starter
Cook the the asparagus pieces in the stock for about 20 minutes, then strain, reserving the stock and discarding the asparagus pieces. Bring the stock to a boil and drop in the asparagus tips. Cook for barely a minute, so that they are tender-crisp and bright green. Remove from the stock and set aside.
Heat the butter in a large, wide, heavy saucepan and gently fry the onion with a pinch of salt until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and rice, stirring constantly until the rice is well coated. Add the wine and stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Pour in a few ladles of hot asparagus stock and do the same. Repeat, adding more stock, until the rice is tender and swollen, creamy (not soggy) and chewy (not gritty). Four cups of stock will probably be enough, but there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to risotto.
Scrape chunks of cheese from half of the Parmesan and stir it in. Check the seasoning. It may not need salt, but add a grinding of pepper. Add the cream and blanched asparagus tips, cover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for a few minutes, then serve immediately. Sprinkle shavings of the rest of the Parmesan on top and garnish with chervil sprigs.