about 30g butter
1 onion or shallot, peeled and finely chopped
bundle of asparagus (allow at least 4 asparagus per person) - trimmed and halved
approx. 1 litre vegetable stock (I always boil it using asparagus wooden ends)
200g risotto rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
150ml dry white wine (if I don't have white, I use dry rose)
lemon and zest of one lemon (make sure you zest yellow part only, white one is bitter)
freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
Keep the stock hot all the time. In a separate pan heat half of the butter, add the onion and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring until softened. Then add rice and turn up the heat.
Fry the rice, stirring all the time. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and lemon juice and keep stirring for minute, until alcohol will evaporate. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add a ladle of hot stock and turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. After 5 minutes add the bottom parts of asparagus - they need to boil little bit longer than tops. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring – you will notice a creamy starch from the rice. This is why you have to allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15-20 minutes, until the rice is cooked. For the last 5 minutes add lemon zest and asparagus tops. Asparagus heads are more delicate than the bottom parts and do not require long time to cook.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter and 2 tbsp parmesan. Stir well and allow to rest for 2 minutes – this will make risotto really creamy and oozy. Serve immediately (as risotto cannot be reheated!) sprinkled with the remaining parmesan cheese on top.