Asparagus and White Wine Risotto cooked in Mr D’s Thermal Slow Cooker

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DAY TWO – asparagus risotto, I really couldn’t do vegetarian recipes without including this classic dish.

Facts about asparagus:
Asparagus is a member of the Lily family and their spears grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils. Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period and will send spears up for about 6-7 weeks during the spring and early summer. The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking…early in the season, there may be 4-5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, a particular field may have to be picked every 24 hours. After harvesting is done the spears grow into ferns, which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy and productive crop the next season.

An asparagus planting is usually not harvested for the first 3 years after the crowns are planted allowing the crown to develop a strong fibrous root system.

A well cared for asparagus planting will generally produce for about 15 years without being replanted.

Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food which in high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fibre, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.

Asparagus has No Fat, contains No Cholesterol and is low in Sodium. (Information from the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board)

 
 

Asparagus Risotto - I know the correct way to make risotto is by adding the stock slowly ladle by ladle but this way is a good substitute.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 x 300 g asparagus, tips cut off and the stems roughly chopped
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1¼ cup arborio rice
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 1 ltr vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly grated “Not Just a Pasta Cheese” cheese (this is a vegetarian cheese similar to Parmesan which is not vegetarian)

METHOD

  1. In the inner pot, melt the butter.
  2. Add the leeks and half the parsley and mint. Cook until soft.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat each grain.
  4. Add the asparagus stems (keeping the tips for later) and stir.
  5. Stir in the wine and the stock. Bring to the boil.
  6. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring all the time.
  7. Put on the lid, turn off the heat and transfer the inner pot into the insulated outer container.
  8. Shut the lid and leave to thermal cook without power for 2 hours.
  9. When ready stir in the cheese, lemon juice, zest, salt and the asparagus tips.
  10. Serve on heated plates garnished with the remaining parsley, mint and slivers of cheese.