This green vegetable and ham risotto would work great as a filling main with lots of chunky vegetables, or as a tasty side dish. Lightly cooked asparagus is added to a simple risotto, flavoured with peas and ham. It may require a bit of effort to make, but this creamy dish is oozing with flavour and would work well as a healthy family meal all will enjoy.
- 225g asparagus spears
- 1.2l vegetable stock
- 50g butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 350g Arborio rice
- 150g frozen peas
- 150g lean chunky ham, cut into pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A few leaves fresh basil and parmesan shavings to serve
Trim away the woody ends from the asparagus, cut into 5cm lengths. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and cook for 3-4 mins until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 5 mins until softened but not browned. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 mins, until well coated.
Add a ladleful of stock and cook gently, stirring, until absorbed. Continue adding the stock, ladle by ladle, to the rice until half the stock is used and the rice is creamy.
Add the remaining stock, peas and ham, and continue cooking until the risotto becomes thick, but not sticky. All in all, this will take about 25 mins and should not be hurried.
Carefully fold in the cooked asparagus and heat through for 2 mins. Season to taste and pile into warm serving bowls. Sprinkle with chopped basil and parmesan shavings. Serve immediately.
For extra flavour, use the asparagus cooking water to make up part of the vegetable stock.