Recipe: Asparagus & Prosecco Risotto

Masterchef Finalist & Head Chef of The Italian Embassy in London, Danilo Cortellini shares his recipe for a creamy risotto textured with tangy asparagus and acidic hints from Prosecco DOC. This classic risotto is an “evergreen” dish, simple but ticking all the right boxes for desired flavours.


Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 280g risotto rice (Riso Gallo Carnaroli Gran Riserva or another good quality arborio)
  • 40g grated Grana Padano (or parmesan)
  • 20g onion (finely chopped)
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 250 ml Prosecco DOC
  • 20 large green asparagus
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small bunch of pea shoots as garnish
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

  • Trim off the bottom ends of the asparagus stalks (the woody part). Using a potato peeler, peel the asparagus and boil in salted water for 1 minute, cooling them down immediately after in iced water to retain the green color. Cut off the tips and set aside to use as garnish. Chop the remaining asparagus and keep them for the risotto. Also: blanch all the asparagus peelings and blend them with a glass a water. Keep this sort of asparagus sauce to enhance the flavour of your risotto – nothing should be wasted in the kitchen!
  • Gently fry the chopped onion in a small casserole with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10-15 minutes on low heat, until well golden and caramelised. Keep aside. 
  • In a large casserole, start to roast the rice on low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. In this way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in a more uniform al dente rice. Keep stirring the rice, so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour half of the Prosecco DOC in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 15 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally, and keep cooking. 
  • Halfway through the cooking, add the onion to the rice and the asparagus sauce made with the trimmings. 
  • Once the time is up, add the chopped asparagus, taste the risotto and if you’re happy with the texture remove it from the heat. This step is called “mantecatura” to make the risotto creamier increasing its natural ooziness with the right gesture and movements.
  • Add the Grana Padano and butter to the rice. Stir with energy to incorporate extra air. Add the leftover Prosecco DOC and keep stirring until the risotto is nice and creamy. Season to taste.
  • Plate the hot risotto straight away and top with the asparagus tips and pea shoots as garnish 

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