Goat’s cheese, asparagus and red onion risotto

I love love love risotto. It’s a fail-safe dish I can cook without any recipe or rules, and often with whatever’s left in the cupboards. I’m a big fan of the fact that it takes a while, but is pretty low maintenance, and it’s where I founded my fond tradition of ‘one glass of vino for the risotto, one for me’. Tastes better that way…

Rarely do I fancy a tea without meat in it, but since we’re all out of meat and trying to clear out the fridge before Cuba (in TWO WORKING DAYS’ TIME, PEOPLE!), I thought risotto was the perfect vessel to transport almost-off veggies to our mouths. And with the addition of cheese, well, everything tastes good, doesn’t it?

With no white onions to speak of, which you’d usually use for risotto, I went for red onions for this recipe and instead of heaps of Parmesan, I wanted a little bit of tang: enter the goat’s cheese. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

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For 4 people

Olive oil

25g butter

250g risotto rice

50g goat’s cheese, crumbed

25g Parmesan, grated

2 chicken stock cubes

1 glass white wine

1 yellow pepper, chopped

5-8 asparagus, woody bit removed and each cut into three

3 small red onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

 

Drizzle a little olive oil into a warm wok or casserole and add half of the butter. Then add the onion with a dash of salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion has softened and started to brown very lightly. Next add the garlic, cook for 5 more minutes, and add the pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes, while you bring a full (about 2 pints) saucepan of water to the boil.

Once the water is bubbling, add the asparagus to the saucepan and add the risotto rice to your onion and garlic mixture. Keep stirring.

The asparagus will only take 5-6 minutes to cook – once done, remove from the water and set aside, leaving the water to bubble away. Pop two stock cubes into the water and stir well. I’m a big fan of the gel-like ones, or using my own bone broth.

The risotto rice should be translucent now – add half of the wine and stir well. Within a few minutes, the rice will have absorbed the wine and will be ready for the rest of it. It’s a good time to have one for yourself too!

Now, add about a cup of the stock as well as a pinch of Parmesan, stir and wait for it to be absorbed. Repeat until all of the stock (and Parmesan) is gone, which should take about half an hour. Add half of the goat’s cheese and all of the asparagus and stir well. Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often to avoid sticking.

Just before you’re ready to dish up stir in the rest of the goat’s cheese and place slithers of the remaining butter on top. Pop the lid on, or place a plate over the top and let that sink in for a few minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh black pepper and Parmesan. And some crusty garlic bread if you’re feeling greedy. Enjoy 🙂

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Freelance writer, eater, drinker and cook living in London.

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