This is the kind of risotto you want to make when you have a little time on your hands and you feel like pottering at the stove. As easy as it is to make, it does require you to stand at the pot for 20 minutes or so as you ladle stock in and stir. The addition of the champagne makes it seem more luxurious, and indeed it is. So pour yourself a glass of champagne and be happy to stir, sip, stir away…
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 2 tblspns olive oil
- ½ small onion, finely diced
- 1 small garlic clove, finely diced
- ½ celery stick, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 cup champagne
- ¼ tspn white pepper
- 1 tblspn olive oil
- 300gm prawns, deveined and peeled
- 2 tblspns flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Put the chicken stock into a saucepan and heat on medium until it is simmering. Turn the heat to low.
- Trim the asparagus by breaking the woody end off each stem. If you're not sure how to do this, just hold the stem close to its end, bend gently and the asparagus will break exactly where it needs to. Discard the ends. Cut the spears into 5cm lengths, then chop the rest of the asparagus stem into 1cm pieces.
- Add the asparagus to the chicken stock and allow to poach for 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a wide, deep saucepan . A sauté pan is ideal. Heat on medium - high for 1 minute, then add the onions, garlic and celery. Sauté while stirring with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes, or until the onions are just turning translucent.
- Add the rice and stir for one minute.
- Add the champagne. Stir until the liquid is almost all absorbed.
- Add one ladleful of hot chicken stock. Stir until the liquid is absorbed
- Keep adding stock one ladleful at a time until almost all the stock is used.
- Meanwhile, heat a frypan on high. Add 1 tblspn olive oil and cook the prawns, 2 minutes per side or until just cooked. Season with a little salt. Set aside.
- When almost all the stock has been used, about 20 minutes, add the pepper, asparagus and prawns to the risotto. Stir gently to incorporate.
- Add the last ladleful of stock, stir and remove from the heat
- Check for seasoning, add salt if desired. This will depend on the type of chicken stock used.
- Scatter with parsley.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
- Note: traditionally risotto should have a few knobs of butter stirred in at the end to make it rich and creamy. I prefer this recipe without the butter, I don't think it needs it. Leaving it out keeps it a healthier dish too.