Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

I have never been able to list risotto making as one of my superpowers, but after this outing, I'm definitely going to have to update my CV.

Anyway, Nigel's Asparagus and Lemon Risotto (May 26) calls for arborio rice, but seeing as I only had a handful of vialone nano and full bag of carnaroli hanging about in the back of the cupboard (Yawn. Don’t I sound like the uncontrived foodie), there were to be no arguments on that Italian frontier. I also only had 200g of asparagus which is seemed like a crime to chop up into bits, but that amount worked out much better. I think 400g of asparagus for only 200g of rice would have been like having some rice flecked with asparagus.

Now let’s talk about quantities - for two people, one with a Viking appetite (well he’s Swedish), 200g was not going to be enough, especially for a main course, so I ingeniously upped this to 280g and added garlic steamed cod fillets on the side.

I also reduced the lemon to one, another ingenious decision because it would certainly have been far too lemony for our tastebuds, even when fillets of fish swam into the picture. I also used shallots instead of ordinary onions and these added a subtle sweetness, and chardonnay left over from the weekend’s heatwave.

Nigel recommends using a chicken stock over vegetable, saying it would be devoid of soul without the glutinous chickeness, and lack a silky texture, but I disagree. I used a rich vegetable stock, with a dark colour and deep flavour (in concentrated liquid form from S’bury’s Taste the Difference range), and the texture was by no means unrefined. One thing about the stock, though, I found Nigel’s recommended 1 litre was too much - I only got through about 750ml of the liquid.

Another thing, Nige does not go into risotto making technique much, so I adopted what I’ve seen done on the telly, and instead of adding just one ladle of stock at a time, I used a few generous ones at once, and that probably saved me from having an outbreak of risotto arm this morning.



Anonymous said...

I find Nigel's quantities a bit off sometimes too. He either eats like a sparrow one day and a horse the next, or his measuring abilities aren't up to much...


Billy said...

I am very impressed at the care that goes into your cooking- as well as the excellent food photography! Are those pictures really of your results? If so, could you please make some food for me?

Anonymous said...

I just cooked this, using 1/2 the quantities. You're right about the lemon, 1 was a bit much for my taste, I'm not sure that it's needed at all to be honest.....