Wednesday, August 13, 2008


serves 4

1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
1 celery heart, about 200g, trimmed and finely diced
150 grams smoked streaky bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for sautéing and serving
400 grams risotto rice, such as carnaroli, arborio or vialone nano
75ml dry white wine
350 grams medium asparagus, blanched and refreshed
150 grams fresh or frozen peas, blanched and refreshed
1-2 tablespoons crème fraîche or mascarpone
100 grams freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the gremolata
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the gremolata, mix the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice and chopped parsley together in a bowl. Season to taste and set aside.

Put the chicken or vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. In a large saucepan, gently sauté the celery and bacon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 6-7 minutes or until the bacon fat has rendered down. Stir in the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes to toast the grains lightly. Reduce the stock to a gentle simmer.

Pour in the wine and let the stock bubble until it is reduced to a syrupy consistency. Begin adding it one ladleful at a time to the rice, stirring well and waiting for each addition to be absorbed before adding any more. Cook until the rice is just tender – it should be quite moist and relaxed, with a very slight bite.

Heat a griddle pan until almost smoking. Cut the asparagus spears in half. Set the asparagus tips aside for later and slice the stems. Stir the sliced asparagus, peas, crème fraîche or mascarpone and Parmesan into the rice. Remove from the heat and check for seasoning. Cover with a lid and leave the risotto to relax briefly.

Meanwhile, toss the asparagus tips in the remaining olive oil and some seasoning. Place the spears on the hot griddle and grill on all sides for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden and charred. Divide the risotto between warmed plates. Scatter the grilled asparagus over the risotto and drizzle with the gremolata to serve.

courtesy of: Gordon Ramsay / Times Online

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