- Heat the vegetable stock in a small pan and keep it gently simmering. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic, and cook over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring, until softened.
- Meanwhile, snap off any woody stems from 225g asparagus spears at the point where they break easily. Slice the stalks and reserve the tips.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in the rice and coat it with the buttery onions. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated. Stir in the asparagus stalks and a ladleful of hot stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the stock has been absorbed into the rice.
- Continue adding the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes total or until the risotto is tender and creamy. After 12 minutes of cooking, add the asparagus tips and 1 courgette, thinly sliced. Add 125g baby broad beans or frozen soya beans (thawed by putting them into a colander and pouring boiling water over) with the last measure of stock. You could also add drained and quartered artichoke hearts with the beans or peas, if you like. Serve with Parmesan or Italian style hard cheese.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
Traditionally, a risotto is cooked in a pan on the hob, but if it's more convenient, it can be left to cook in a covered dish in the oven. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven), gas 6. Make the vegetable stock using boiling water. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter and oil in a flameproof casserole or pan, as for the basic recipe. Add the rice and wine, and bring to the boil. Pour in the hot vegetable stock and stir the mixture again. Transfer to a warm casserole, if cooked in a pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and creamy. Stir in the herbs and scatter with Parmesan or Italian-style hard cheese before serving.