Final_1The evenings in Sydney are becoming really crisp and you can feel winter is on it’s way. To celebrate the cooler weather I have made this risotto which is always a lovely meal to come home too. This risotto has just a hint of lemon juice and zest in it which gives it a nice little lift.

When deciding which rice to use this article from The Telegraph in the United Kingdom gives great advice. Here is part of what was written “There are a few kinds of risotto rice and it can be hard to know what the difference is. The three main types found in the supermarket are Carnaroli, Vialone nano and Arborio. They have different qualities and look different too.

  • Carnaroli is a great rice for vegetable or meat-based risotto, and the best for beginners. It’s the most forgiving type to cook with, and the one I use most often. It doesn’t matter too much if you leave it unstirred for a little while, or, once ready, you leave it in the pan while you assemble the family. Carnaroli is a relatively recent invention, emerging just after the Second World War when an Italian rice grower crossed arborio with a Japanese variety, making this wonderful new strain of rice.
  • Vialone nano, with its shorter, less starchy grains, is best for fish risotto. The slight lack of starch can make vialone nano risotto seem lighter.
  • Arborio is fine but tricky to work with. It overcooks easily and the grains are more likely to break, making a gruel-like risotto.

I have really enjoyed my time in Sydney and we have visited a few places to the south like Kangaroo Valley and Moss Vale. Sometimes we play with the idea of buying a house with some land and a vegetable garden in one these areas.

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Ingredients_1

Recipe

* 4 cups vegetable stock
* 150 grams unsalted butter
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1½ cups risotto rice. I used Vialone Nano but Alborio is fine
* ½ cup white wine
* 2 bunches of asparagus, chopped
* 1 cup fresh or frozen shelled peas
* finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice
* 1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
* sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* a large handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped

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Method

Heat the vegetable stock until almost boiling, keep it simmering.
In a large heavy saucepan heat the butter and oil over a medium heat.
Add the diced onions and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until softened but not browned.
Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until the grains are well coated and glistening, about 1 minute.
Pour in the wine and stir until it has been completely absorbed.
Add 1 ladle of hot stock and simmer, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed.
Repeat.
After 10 min, add the asparagus, peas, and lemon zest and mix well.
Continue to add the stock at intervals and cook as before, for a further 8-10 min, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender but still firm.
Add the reserved stock, parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper.
Mix well.
Remove from the heat, cover, and let rest for 2 min.
Spoon into warmed bowls and garnish with basil and grated Parmesan.

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