Steve Groves’ Herb Risotto, Asparagus & Baked Parmesan

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Steve Groves reveals how to conjure a magical herb risotto with asparagus and baked parmesan


“This risotto recipe is designed to be really quick and simple and would possibly get me lynched in Italy but in my view it yields great results and was deemed good enough by a 2 star chef to use in his kitchen!”

Serves 4

Ingredients
• 250g Carnaroli risotto rice
• chicken/vegetable stock concentrate
• 400ml fresh white chicken stock
• 2 tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs (Parsley, chervil, chives)
• 1tbsp mascarpone
• 100g finely grated parmesan
• zest of half and juice of a quarter lemon
• 20 ssparagus spears
• 60g unsalted butter
• 50g finely grated parmesan
• 15g plain flour

Method
To make the risotto:

1 Bring a large pan of water, at least 2 litres, to the boil. Season with the stock concentrate.
2 Add the rice and return to the boil, cook for 5 minutes making sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom but don’t stir too much.
3 Strain through a colander or sieve. Spread into a single layer on a baking tray or two and put in the freezer until completely frozen.
4 At this point you can bag up the rice in portions and keep stored in the freezer ready to pull out for a quick risotto at a later date.
5 Remove 240g of the rice from the freezer and defrost.
6 Bring the stock to the boil and add the rice, continue to boil whilst stirring regularly until the stock has reduced by about ¾.
7 Add the mascarpone and boil until you have a creamy consistency, finish with the parmesan, herbs and lemon. Check seasoning. If it becomes too stodgy and thick add a little more stock to loosen.

To make the asparagus:
1 Break the asparagus spears by holding gently at each end and bending until it breaks at its tender point. At this point take all the tougher ends and juice them or blend with a little water and strain. Reserve the juice.
2 Slice the asparagus into rounds all the way up to leave a 2cm tip, slice the tip in half lengthwise.
3 Heat a pan wide enough to contain all of the asparagus in a single layer then add the butter followed by the asparagus, season with a little salt and cook until the asparagus just about starts to roast.
4 At this point add the asparagus stock and just enough chicken stock to cover the asparagus.
5 Bring to the boil and cook until most of the liquid has reduced away and what is left forms an emulsion with the butter giving a nice glaze to the asparagus.

To make the baked parmesan:
1 Heat the oven to 170c.
2 Mix the flour and parmesan together and sprinkle a thin layer on to a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for around 5 minutes or until golden brown.
3 Alternatively cook in the microwave in 20 second bursts.
4 Serve the risotto in a mound in the centre of a bowl and cover it completely with the asparagus. Finish with some of the broken baked parmesan.

Recipe courtesy of Steve Groves for Roux at Parliament Square

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