I told you my white asparagus obsession is not over yet and BOY this is one of the best dishes I have cooked, ever.
It is literally the full essence and flavour of the white asparagus translated into a risotto, with sliced strawberries on top adding that unbeatable sweet / savoury combo that will tantalise your taste buds.
What really makes this risotto so special is the way that every bit of the asparagus spear is used to flavour the risotto.
A lot of the asparagus risotto recipes I found online were based on your classic veg / chicken stock risotto with a splash of wine, the asparagus pretty much simply stirred through at the end and not realllyyyyyy flavouring the risotto in an impactful way.
Well not with this recipe! Yes, it takes a little more effort but WOW it makes it restaurant quality good, plus it works as well with green asparagus as with white so use the produce you can find!
The stalky ends of the asparagus, which are usually binned, are cooked in boiling water for 40 minutes to create a super fragrant asparagus stock, used here instead of your standard stock, to slowly cook your risotto rice, while a hand full of the cut up spears (of course preserving the precious tips as final garnish), are par boiled for a few minutes before being blitzed with a little cooking water into a silky puree.
The puree gets then stirred into the cooked rice alongside a good helping of parmesan and butter before the final dish is topped with the rest of the remaining asparagus tips (steamed or par boiled to keep a good crunch), the sliced strawberries and a little thyme.
It looks stunning and tastes like the pure essence of the star ingredient, achieved via the stock, puree and fresh asparagus on top. This is a dish that will wow and that is worth the labour of love that goes into it, trust me!
- 750g of white asparagus (green will do too), peeled, ends cut of but kept for the stock
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 white onion, diced
- 300g of carnaroli risotto rice, or arborio rice
- 200ml of white wine
- 100g of butter
- 50g of parmesan
- 15g strawberries
- Fresh thyme
- Begin by making a quick asparagus stock using up the woody stalks, which usually would get thrown away.
- Snap off the woody ends and place in a pan with a litre of water and a pinch of salt.
- Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 40 minutes, then remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and keep the liquid warm
- 10 minutes before the stock is ready, heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a large pan and add the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt.
- Cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes)
- Add the rice and stir for a few minutes until it starts to toast a little.
- Add the white wine and stir until it has evaporated
- Add ladles of warm asparagus stock one by one, each time letting the rice absorb the stock before adding the next.
- Stir regularly to release the starch from the rice, which is what gives you a creamy risotto
- As the risotto is cooking, chop off the asparagus tips to be about 5cm long and set aside.
- Divide the stalks into 2 equal piles (keeping all tips to one side).
- Cook one pile of the asparagus in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes
- When the asparagus is soft, drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Place in a blender and blitz to a smooth puree, adding back in some of the cooking water if needed
- Taste the rice and when it is cooked just al dente you can stir in the purée and the sliced asparagus stalks, keeping some spears to use as garnish.
- Taste and season with salt, pepper.
- Beat in the butter and Parmesan, place a lid on the pan and leave off the heat to rest for 5 minutes.
- Steam your asparagus tips in the microwave for a couple of minutes (or pan fry if using green asparagus).
- Serve up the risotto and top with asparagus tips, sliced strawberries and some fresh thyme.