Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Creamy Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes

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What a lovely surprise we’ve had today.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sun and felt alive again running under a smiling yellow ball of fire.  It feels a little bit nippy now and to continue our Mediterranean theme this week, I thought a vegetarian Italian risotto would do us a world of good.

This recipe is also gluten and wheat free.  Check your ingredients carefully to ensure that the recipe ingredients are also soy free.  As the recipe contains crème fraiche and parmesan cheese it is not milk free.  However, you could trial substituting these ingredients with soy yoghurt if you needed to exclude milk, but allowed soy in your diet.

I like zero waste, thus I have incorporated both tips and stems of the asparagus.  If you prefer, you can choose to use tips only.

200g sundried tomatoes in olive oil
3 shallots, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, sliced
8 – 10 asparagus, both tips and stems, cut into 1 inch pieces
500ml stock
550g Arborio rice
500ml white wine
10 – 12 mushroom buttons
100g baby spinach
3 tablespoons reduced fat natural yoghurt or crème fraiche
75g parmesan cheese, grated

1. Drain the sundried tomatoes and reserve the oil.  Slice the sundried tomatoes into small pieces.  Set aside.
2. Add ½ the olive oil to a large saucepan and cook the shallots, garlic and asparagus for a few minutes.
3. Whilst this is cooking, prepare your stock.
4. Stir in the rice and continue cooking until the rice turns opaque.
5. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until all the liquid has been absorbed.  I usually cook over a low to medium heat.
6. Then add stock in 3 parts and only when most of the liquid has disappeared.
7. Add the mushrooms and mix well.
8. In a blender blitz the spinach, yoghurt or crème fraiche and the grated parmesan.
8. Once the rice is nearly done, mix in the sun dried tomatoes and the pureed spinach.
10. Serve hot and season well with pepper.

If you really must have meat, substitute the mushrooms with 500g of chicken breast or thighs, cut into pieces but cook in oil until brown and then stir in after you have added the pureed spinach.