About this recipe:Risotto is comfort food at its best, and you can ring the changes by adding almost any fresh ingredients you have to hand. This one uses fresh asparagus, baby carrots and young spring peas and beans.
1 litre vegetable stock
100g asparagus tips
100g baby carrots, halved lengthways
200g fresh young peas, shelled
500g baby broad beans, shelled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 baby leeks, thinly sliced
300g risotto rice
1 tbsp pesto sauce
25g pine nuts, toasted
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Method Prep:25min › Cook:20min › Ready in:45min
Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan, then reduce the heat, add the asparagus tips, carrots, peas and broad beans and simmer for 4–5 minutes until tender. Remove the vegetables with a draining spoon and set aside. Keep the stock simmering over a gentle heat.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and add the leeks. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until they are bright green, then stir in the rice.
Add 2–3 tbsp of the hot stock and cook gently, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a little at a time, until the mixture is soupy and the grains of rice are tender but still have a slight bite. This will take about 20 minutes.
Stir in the pesto and season to taste. Gently stir in the asparagus, carrots, peas and beans and cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are heated through. Serve in heated soup plates and scatter over the pine nuts.
When fresh peas and broad beans are not in season, or to save time, use frozen peas and beans.
There are many varieties of pesto sauce on the market and it is a matter of taste which one you use in this recipe. Those that contain Parmesan are not suitable for strict vegetarians. Pesto is salted so you may only need to season the risotto with some freshly ground black pepper. You could of course, also use a home-made pesto.