We are loving the beautiful fresh asparagus that is thriving in our farmers’ crops and local veggie gardens throughout the Orange region this October.
Packing a punch of health benefits and vitamins, as well as looking good on the plate, fresh asparagus is in season from early Spring through to December.
Whether you add it to a vibrant garden salad, grill it on the BBQ, serve it with an elegant fish dish or simply dip it in your boiled egg for breakfast, there are so many ways to enjoy this flavoursome vegetable when it’s in season.
For a lovely weekend lunch, try this gorgeous risotto, which most certainly celebrates asparagus! It would be delightful served with a lovely Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300g arborio rice
4 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock
Mint leaves, to serve
3 bunches (600g) asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup picked mint leaves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, chopped
Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (from health-food shops), plus extra to serve
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
Place oil, spring onion, garlic and a large pinch of salt flakes in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook for 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent. Add rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to coat the grains.
Place stock in a second saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer.
For the pesto, bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch asparagus for 3-4 minutes until just cooked. Cool under cold running water and set aside to drain.
Reduce rice mixture to low and add hot stock 1 cup (250ml) at a time, stirring continuously until stock is completely absorbed before adding next cup. Continue until all stock has been added and rice is al dente, then remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Whiz a third of blanched asparagus in a blender with remaining pesto ingredients until smooth. Season to taste. Fold pesto through risotto until evenly combined.
Top with mint and remaining asparagus. Scatter with extra parmesan and drizzle with extra oil to serve.
Bon Appetit! Recipe by Shannon Martinez.