Risotto Primavera

From Catherine Sloman’s Kitchen Confidence

Risotto primavera is a classic Italian dish, using any seasonal spring vegetables. I love it with locally grown asparagus – it’s a short season, so now’s the time to make the most of it.

If you want to keep this for plant-based, use a vegan Parmesan.

Serves 4


200g asparagus

50g butter

100g Parmesan

l medium onion

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small garlic clove

300g risotto rice

100ml dry white wine

200g shelled fresh or frozen peas

200g broad beans (you will need about 800g of fresh broad beans in the pod)

1 sprig mint

Salt and pepper


Double pod your broad beans:

Remove the beans from their outer pods. If you are using frozen beans, they will have had this outer pod removed already.

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the podded beans and simmer for approximately 2 minutes and then drain.

Place the beans into a bowl of cold water and pop the tender, bright green beans out of their thick skins by squeezing gently.

If you are using fresh peas, you will also need to pod these. Fresh or frozen peas can be cooked in a little lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes.

Wash the asparagus, snap off and discard the woody ends, then cut into 3-4 pieces.

Add the asparagus to a small saucepan of boiling water and simmer for four minutes, then drain and cool.

Dice half the butter into small cubes and place in the fridge.

Grate the parmesan and place in the fridge.

Peel and finely chop the onion.

Bring the stock to a simmer on a low heat.

Heat the olive oil and the remaining butter in a large, heavy-based pan.

Add the onion and fry on a low heat, stirring now and then, for around 8 minutes, making sure the onions soften but don’t turn brown.

Peel and finely chop or crush the garlic, add to the onions and fry for one more minute.

With the heat on medium, add the rice and keep stirring it with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes so it gets lightly toasted, but not coloured, and very hot.

Once the rice starts to sizzle, pour in the wine and keep stirring for about a minute until the wine has evaporated.

Gradually add the warm stock, a ladle at a time, stirring often, letting each ladleful absorb before adding the next, for around 20 minutes. You may not need all the stock and if you run out, add a little water.

Let the risotto simmer rather than boil and keep stirring until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue to stir and add a ladleful of stock once the previous amount has been absorbed.

After 15 minutes, stir the drained asparagus, peas and beans into the risotto, with a little salt and pepper.

Cook for a further 3-4 minutes, and start tasting the rice now – it should be softening but still with a bit of bite.

Take the pan off the heat, add half the grated parmesan and the diced butter. Put the lid on the pan and leave to stand for two minutes.

Wash the mint, pick the leaves, lay them on top of each other, roll them up and shred them.

Stir the shredded mint into the risotto, leaving a little to garnish, check the seasoning and serve the risotto in warmed bowls with the rest of the Parmesan.

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