Difficulty Level: Average

A risotto for early summer










  • 450ml vegetable stock, made wth half a stock cube
  • 4 asparagus spears, trimmed (trimmings kept) and each spear sliced into 4
  • 200-250g/8-9oz peas in the pod, about 85g/3oz podded (pods kept)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 85ml risotto rice
  • 3 tbsp white wine (keep the rest of the bottle chilling)
  • small handful of freshly grated parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
  • small handful of rocket and a few parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) shavings, to serve


Simmer the stock for 10 minutes with the asparagus trimmings and pea pods; these will intensify the flavour. Strain into a jug.

While the stock is simmering, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide, shallow pan. Tip in the onion and fry gently for 5-6 minutes, stirring, until it is soft but not coloured. Add the rice and continue to stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until the grains become see-through at the edges and begin to make ‘clicking’ noises.

Add the wine (it should bubble and evaporate), then 50ml/2fl oz of the stock. Stir well and simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed. Now pour in another 50ml/2fl oz stock and stir again. Continue adding the stock and stirring. After about 7 minutes, when half the stock has been added, swirl in the asparagus and peas. Carry on adding stock in small amounts until it has been absorbed; this will take about 10 more minutes. Now the risotto should be a little wet and sloppy and the rice tender with a nutty bite.

Turn off the heat, then gently stir in the grated Parmesan, taste and season. You may need only a little black pepper as the Parmesan and stock are both salty. Spoon the risotto on to a plate, top with the rocket, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and scatter with Parmesan shavings.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your meal.