Risotto – for 2 people, about ½ to 1 cup dry risotto rice
Chopped onion to taste
Finely chopped garlic to taste
A dash of cooking oil (maybe a mild tasting one like sunflower oil)
Stock – at least 3½ cups of vegetable stock per 1 cup of risotto rice (see note below for stock)
Coarsely grated nice fresh courgettes (the younger and fresher the better)
Finely grated strongly flavoured cheese like Grana Padano or Parmesan
Fresh asparagus, about one bunch
Nutmeg (freshly grated) – just a sprinkling
Salt and pepper to taste.
· Start off by sautée-ing the chopped onion in the oil over medium heat till it turns translucent.
· Add the chopped garlic and stir lightly till it just turns golden.
· On low heat, add the risotto rice, stir through and then start adding the stock, about 50ml at a time, and give it just a little stir. Add salt and pepper to taste (I prefer ground white pepper for this dish).
· In the meantime grate the courgettes coarsely and keep aside.
· Cook the asparagus in fast boiling water for 3 minutes so that they don’t get too soft. Rinse them in cold water and cut in 2mm pieces (these will go into the risotto), leaving the tips a bit longer so that they can be used as a garnish at the end.
· When the risotto is cooked (some people like it al dente (firm when you bite on it), but some like it quite soft (with the danger that the dish might get soggy when stirred too much) you are ready for the magic!
· Add the grated courgettes and the cut asparagus stems, as well as some grated Grana or Parmesan and a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg. Stir through lightly to mix. Taste to see if you should add more salt, pepper, nutmeg or cheese. Stand for 2-3 minutes just to let the courgettes soften.
· Present with the asparagus tips and some grated cheese or cheese shavings on top. May also be dishes up in individual ramekins/dishes and then garnished.
· Serve with a lovely fresh white wine and enjoy the good company.
· Note: you can of course use any green veggies that you have available OR change the colour scheme completely!
Stock is something that the purists wax lyrically about. It can be prepared from scratch in larger quantities in advance and frozen in cubes OR you can use the cheapy supermarket cubes or the lovely deli liquid ones. I’ll do a separate post with some thoughts and tips on making your own stock. I might just call in the help of www.thefeastfairy.co.za