- 450 g/1 lb. fresh asparagus spears
- 5 liters/2 ½ pints/6 1/3 cups vegetable or chicken stock, kept warm on the hob
- 125 g/4 oz./1 cup shelled fresh peas. or use thawed frozen peas
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion. peeled and chopped
- 2-4 garlic cloves. peeled and crushed
- 350 g/12 oz./scant 1 ¾ cups Arborio/risotto rice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 25 g/1 oz./2 tbsp. butter
- 125 g/4 oz. Parma ham/prosciutto. cut into strips
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese. to serve
Trim the asparagus and shave the spears to remove any woody bits. Cut off the tips. then cut the stalks into 2-5 cm/ ¾ -2 inch lengths. Cook the stalks in 300 ml/ ½ pint/1 ¼ cups of the stock for 10 minutes. or until tender. Strain and return the stock to the stock pan and keep warm on the hob. Cook the asparagus tips in gently simmering water for 3-4 minutes. drain and reserve. If using fresh shelled peas. cook in a separate pan for 5 minutes. drain and reserve separately from the asparagus tips.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. add the onion and garlic and fry for 5 minutes. Add the rice and fry. stirring. until the rice is lightly coated in the oil. Add a ladleful of the stock and stir. When the stock is absorbed. add another ladleful and stir until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock at intervals and stir as before. When most has been added. stir in the asparagus stalks and peas with seasoning to taste. Continue cooking. adding more stock if necessary until the rice is creamy with just a slight bite to it.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. When that has been absorbed. stir in the Parma ham/prosciutto and asparagus tips. Cover with a clean dishtowel and leave for 10 minutes for the flavors to infuse. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.