Of course, British asparagus season is upon us and I honestly can’t get enough of it. There’s something so exciting about those first bundles hitting my shopping basket but I know that might just be me. I really am easily pleased.
There’s nothing I like more than keeping it simple and just serving it steamed with dippy duck eggs and freshly ground pepper but another of my absolute favourites (and more importantly, a guaranteed plate clearer with little people) is with a lovely creamy pancetta risotto. As ever, I’m very much a throw it all in and taste it as I go along kind of cook but this recipe should feed at least four greedy people.
Ingredients for the pancetta risotto:
300g arborio risotto rice
1 litre(ish) of hot chicken stock
1 tbsp(ish) of olive oil (for frying)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
250g pancetta, cubed
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
Salt, pepper and parmesan to taste
To be served with: gorgeous fresh asparagus (I allow for at least four or five stalks each)
Gently fry the pancetta with olive oil until nice and crispy then add the chopped onion and garlic and continue to fry until they are soft. I tend to buy pancetta in fat slices from the deli counter so that I can cut it into chunkier cubes but I’m fussy like that.
Add the arborio rice and stir well until covered in all the lovely oils from the pan. This will only take a minute or two but do keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick. I love arborio as I think it makes for a super creamy risotto while still keeping some bite.
Now you simply need to add the hot chicken stock a ladle at a time. If the stock is made from scratch, all the better of course but if not I like Kallo Organic stock cubes as they come in a super child friendly low salt option. You don’t want to rush this bit, it really is worth taking your time to get a really creamy risotto. As the rice absorbs the stock, add another ladle and stir, stir, stir!
About twenty minutes and a litre of stock later, you should have the most amazing risotto now simply add the handful of fresh parsley and stir through. In the meantime, when the risotto is almost ready, steam the asparagus which should take no longer than about five minutes for average sized fresh stems.
Serve the risotto with salt and pepper to taste and a shaving or three of stinky parmesan along with that gorgeous asparagus.
If you liked this, you might want to take a look at some of my other recipes here.