Vegetable risotto

The combination of the artichokes and fresh mint really pulls through the risotto with every mouthful.
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When making the vegetable broth, be sure to add the trimmings from the asparagus to give a depth of flavour.

Serves 4

* 225g asparagus
* 1.25l hot vegetable broth 
* 2 artichokes
* juice of ½ a lemon
* 80 ml olive oil
* small white onion, chopped
* 200g courgettes, sliced
* 150g fresh or frozen peas
* 250g risotto rice
* 125ml white wine
* 30g butter
* 3–4 tbsps grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
* 2 tbsps chopped flat-leaf parsley
* plain (all-purpose) flour, for coating
* light olive oil
* a handful of mint sprigs

1. Trim the asparagus and slice on the diagonal, leaving the tips whole. Add the trimmings to your vegetable broth as it simmers.

2. To prepare your artichokes, trim away the outer leaves and cut a slice off the top. Halve the artichoke and remove the hairy choke if it has one, then cut each half into fine slices 4–5mm thick. Keep them covered with cold water and a little lemon juice to prevent them turning black.

3. Heat the olive oil in a wide pot and sauté the onion until well softened. 

4. Add the asparagus, courgette and peas and sauté on high heat for a moment to just take the flavours. 

5. Add the rice, turning it through so it is well coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper, then add the wine and let it bubble away. 

6. Add 500ml of hot broth, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until much of the broth has been absorbed. Add another cupful of hot broth, stir in gently and then leave it to do its thing, adding another cupful of broth when  necessary until the rice is tender and creamy (about 20 minutes in total). Don’t let it get so dry that you have to keep stirring.
7.  Remove from the heat, then add the butter, parmesan and parsley and stir gently through to combine. Add salt if needed.

8. Just before the risotto is ready, drain the artichokes, pat dry and cover lightly in flour on both sides. Use a non-stick pan that will fit the artichokes in one layer if possible. Just cover the bottom with the light olive oil and heat up. 

9. Add the artichokes and fry until golden and crisp on both sides. Lift out onto a plate lined with paper towel to drain. 

10. Serve the risotto with a heap of hot fried artichokes on top, plus the fresh mint, extra parmesan and black pepper.

More from The Recipe Collection:

The Recipe Collection by Tessa Kiros (Murdoch Books £20). Photography: Manos Chatzikonstantis

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