Asparagus, pea & goats cheese risotto

Asparagus, pea and goats cheese risotto Final
Asparagus, pea and goats cheese risotto

It may have escaped your attention, but I have well over 150 recipes on this blog, and not one of those recipes is a risotto. Even just the word fills me with a despair, one which can only be trumped by the even-more-disappointing ‘stuffed pepper’. There’s nothing worse than a pepper stuffed with whatever scraps the restaurant chef can find – which, more often than not, is last night’s vegetarian option: risotto. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Don’t get me wrong, a risotto can be a wonderful thing – but frankly, it rarely is. It’s the lazy vegetarian option that graces pub menus throughout the land, and has been given all the love and attention of some over-steamed veg at a carvary.

On a few occasions (and I know this sounds silly), I’ve been close to tears when I’ve looked up from my sickie bowl of stodge to see plates piled high with tender-looking roast beef, golden Yorkshire puddings, glazed carrots, crispy roast potatoes and glossy gravy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I want to eat my boyfriend’s roast dinner, I just crave the same love and attention that went into making his meal. And, in my experience (and I’ve eaten a lot of risotto), that is rarely the case… Until recently.

After a day of exploring the Derbyshire countryside and eating our weight in Bakewell pudding, my boyfriend and I booked a table at The Manners in Bakewell. Starving, my eyes quickly devoured the menu only to fall upon the word I had been hoping not to see: ‘risotto’. My heart sank, and so did Jamie’s (he knows how upset risotto makes me).
“Maybe there’s a special on?” he said apologetically, turning in his chair to look for a board.
“There isn’t,” I replied glumly, looking at the starters to see if one could double up as a main. “They have a burrata salad – maybe I could have that with chips or something?” I added weakly, but Jamie could see my disappointment.
“Why don’t you just try the risotto?” he suggested tentatively.
“Why don’t you try it?!” I snapped accidentally, and instantly regretted it.
“Fine!” he hit back. “Let’s just go somewhere else – forget the fact we’ve been waiting an hour at the bar for this table and it’s almost nine o’clock.”
“Are you ready to order?” the kindly waiter interrupted. He had suddenly appeared by my side, pen poised and expectant look on his face.
“Er, yeah, sorry – I’ll have the burrata and the risotto,” I smiled weakly.

It. Was. Delicious. A creamy, dreamy bowl of perfectly cooked rice with bursts of fresh pea, asparagus and dill. With every mouthful, I discovered pockets of tangy goats cheese rind as well as subtle notes of lemon. Before I know it, Jamie had abandoned his meal and we are both digging into mine – and I didn’t mind one bit. For the first time in living memory, a pub risotto was finally worthy of centre stage. So I did something I thought I would never do – a risotto recipe. Pigs have flown. Enjoy!


Asparagus, pea and goats cheese risotto
Serves 4 / Hands on Time 1 hr 10 mins / Total time 1 hr 10 mins / Gf 
200g asparagus
1 onion, finely chopped
30g unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g risotto rice
150ml vegetarian white wine
800ml vegetable stock, I use Knorr stock pots
200g frozen peas
40g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan
100g vegetarain goats cheese with rind, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh dill, chopped
½ lemon, juice and zest

Method
1. Discard the woody ends of the asparagus spears, chop in half and submerge in a small saucepan of boiling water. Cook for 4 minutes before draining and putting to one side.
2. Prepare all of the other ingredients, making risotto is pretty hands on so you want everything ready and to hand while cooking. Measure out, chop and grate everything you are going to need. Once the asparagus has cooled slightly, chop into chunks and put to one side with other ingredients.
3. In a large non stick pot, or saucepan with a lid, add the butter and sweat the onions down, on a low heat for around 10 minutes, with the lid on. Add the crushed garlic and continue to cook for a further few more minutes. Add the risotto rice and coat well in the buttery onion mixture before upping the heat to high. Stir continually for 3 minutes until the rice goes slightly translucent at the edges. Add all of the wine (it should fizz) and cook until the wine has absorbed.
4. Turn the heat down to medium and add a ladle of stock, stir until absorbed. Continue to add a ladle of stock one at a time and cook until each addition has been absorbed. Once all the stock has been incorporated, take off the heat.
5. Add the asparagus, peas, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh dill, Italian hard cheese and the goats cheese. Mix well and cover with a lid and leave for 5 minutes. Finally uncover, season with salt and pepper and serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Asparagus, pea and goats cheese risotto Final
Asparagus, pea and goats cheese risotto

If you’ve had a go at making my risotto or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


Gf– Gluten free   ❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.
*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



3 thoughts on “Asparagus, pea & goats cheese risotto

  1. Of course risotto is among the most difficult things to cook properly and it’s understandable why it’s usually a disappointment when bought out; first it has to be the correct rice, second it needs constant attention from the moment the rice goes into the pan till it’s done. What is often served as ‘risotto’ is a pilaf; if well done this can be good but it doesn’t require the same constant attention and it doesn’t transport you to heaven like a perfect risotto. I’d say the same about scrambled eggs and I remember well Michel Roux Jnr (the only ‘celebrity chef’ I have time for), giving budding chefs scrambled eggs as the test to see whether they knew the basics of good cooking.
    Stuffed peppers are one of my favourite meals, whether ‘vegetarian’ or not, but only if made correctly. I make them often but they cannot compare with those made with freshly-picked peppers grown on land which has never seen artificial fertilizers or pesticides in Romania; when I lived there I ate little else during June when the peppers were really in season!

    Liked by 1 person

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