Friday, 3 June 2011

Spring Broad Bean & Asparagus Risotto

Monday was a Bank Holiday and we decided to go strawberry picking at our local ‘Pick Your Own’ (PYO) Farm.  Fresh asparagus is in season so we decided to take our kids asparagus picking too, but admittedly DH did most of the asapargus cutting on account of the rather sharp knife handed to us at the ‘PYO’ hut.

This risotto is perfect for this time of year as both British asparagus and broad beans are in abundance.  Sadly our local PYO does not have broad beans so I did purchase mine in my local Tesco.  Not wanting to sound too pernickety, but I absolutely have to have my broad beans double podded.  Whilst broad beans are perfectly acceptable once podded and blanched for a few minutes, there is something much nicer about the dark emerald bean once slipped out of its lighter shade jacket.  I actually find double podding quite therapeutic , so even after a hard Friday out with the kids I was happy to get podding!  OK, I’m starting to sound very Nigella about the humble broad bean, but my advice is to take the extra attention to reach the delectable inside.  Incidentally, my 500g broad beans yielded just 62g once double podded so believe me you really do need this amount for 2 adults!

You’ll need for 2:
  • Half an onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 150g Arborio risotto rice
  • 500g fresh broad beans, podded, blanched for a minute and then double podded
  • Bunch of asparagus, woody stems trimmed, sliced on diagonal and blanched for 3 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 90ml white wine (optional)

What to do:
Gently sauté the onion and garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil for a few minutes until soft.  Take care not to turn the heat up too much especially as there is not much oil in the pan.  Add the rice and coat and stir for a minute.

Add the wine and stir continuously until the liquid has evaporated.  I make my stock using a liquid concentrate, in a jug and then pour it in a little at a time, whilst simmering on a low heat adding more each time it is absorbed.  This does require a lot of stirring and therefore I find it is a perfect Friday night meal where I can sip on a glass of white wine whilst happily stirring.

At some point, during the adding stock process, add the zest of lemon. It should take around 20 -25 minutes for the rice to cook, but to be honest I find it incredibly hard to give you an exact time.  I generally keep tasting a single grain of rice until it is almost cooked and still has just a tiny ‘bite’ to it.  At this point, add in the beans and asparagus and the parmesan.  Cook for a further 3 minutes or so until the rice is perfect for your taste and the veg is heated through.  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper and sprinkle with a little fresh parsley if you have some in your fridge.

Weight Watchers Propoints: 12

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