Spring Vegetable Risotto
I had always assumed that Lombardy was the birthplace of risotto, but it is Veneto. There are hundreds of risottos in Venice and Veneto, many more than in Lombardy. One featuring the radicchio of Treviso is a favourite, but this risotto is made with spring vegetables, as its name suggests, which gives it flavours of new life.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 young carrots, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 50g podded fresh peas
- 100g green beans, cut into pieces
- 2 artichoke hearts, finely diced
- 12 asparagus tips
- 50g hop shoots (bruscandoli), optional
- 2 litres boiling chicken or vegetable stock
- 100g butter
- 400g risotto rice
- Salt and pepper
- 60g Parmesan, freshly grated
- Have all the vegetables ready. Bring the stock to the boil in a pan and keep it at a low simmer.
- Melt 50g of the butter in a large pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the carrots and celery and cook for five minutes, then add the peas, green beans and artichokes. Stir over the heat briefly, then add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.
- Ladle by ladle, add the boiling stock, allowing each addition to be absorbed before you add the next. After 10 minutes, add the asparagus and the hops shoots if using. Carry on adding stock and stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes. When the rice is cooked, everything else will be.
- Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the rest of the butter and the Parmesan. Stir briskly and serve warm.