The first crop I planted on the allotment when I took it on the years ago was a row of asparagus. This spring is the first harvest. I watered a little last week to bring the spears on-I was tired of waiting, and it was a long dry April. This is the first harvest, with a couple of leeks. They made a most delicious asparagus risotto-recipe below.
8 oz (225 gm) asparagus
white part of one leek, finely chopped
1 ½oz (40 gm) butter
5oz (150 gm) arborio rice
750ml/1½lb hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 oz (25m) freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 glass white wine
freshly ground black pepper
Quantities are approximate and not that critical.
1. Gently fry the leek in the butter until it is soft but uncoloured.
2. Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat, stirring so that it gets a good coating of butter.
3.Add the wine, and cook gently until almost all has been absorbed.
4. Add a ladle of hot stock at a time and continue stirring until all the stock has been absorbed, and the rice is tender.
5. Meanwhile, steam the asparagus for 3-6 minutes or until tender to the point of a knife. Chop roughly once it is cooked.
6. Add a knob of butter, the asparagus, half the parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper to the risotto and give it a stir.
7. Serve your risotto in warm bowls with a sprinkling of parmesan on top of each serving.
Enjoy. This is my Zen recipe-you need to be with this dish whilst it cooks, stirring it gently from time to time, adding the stock, tasting, enjoying the scents. Not one to leave alone to get on with things. But a satisfying way to spend half an hour, especially if you enjoy a glass of wine from the same bottle used in the cooking.