This light, quick risotto can be topped with any of your favourite spring vegetables. Used blanched asparagus, slim green beans, peas, thinly sliced fennel and snow peas along with fresh rocket and spring onions. For a more substantial meal it would be delicious topped with a soft poached egg.
1 tablespoon olive oil
knob of butter
1 leek, white and pale green part thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
finely grated zest 1 lemon
1¼ cups risotto rice, such as Arborio
½ cup white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to serve
knob of butter
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
blanched spring vegetables of choice
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Heat the oil and butter in a large ovenproof casserole or sauté pan. Add the leek and garlic with a good pinch of salt, cover and cook until tender. Add the lemon zest and rice and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat and add the wine, letting it bubble up and cook until it has all been absorbed. Add the stock, season and bring to the boil. Cover tightly and bake for 20-25 minutes until tender.
To serve: Uncover and stir in the Parmesan, butter and parsley. Divide between serving bowls and top with the blanched vegetables. Shave over extra Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
Pantry note: Arborio is a fat, short-grain Italian rice that is high in starch, essential for a creamy risotto. Available from supermarkets and specialty food stores.