This risotto is light and creamy with vibrant colour and flavour,
perfect for spring!
Makes 5 cups (Serves 2-3 ppl as a main dish)
1 large leek, diced
1.5 cups fresh asparagus
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
3.5–4 cups hot veggie broth (or use hot water with 2 tsp veggie bouillion)
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 lemon, zest and juice to taste
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup basil, cut into ribbons
parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/4 cup pinenuts, lightly roasted

Cut the fibrous ends off the asparagus and discard.
Cut the pretty tips off and set them aside. Cut the “middles” into 1-inch pieces.
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and blanch 1.5 cups of the asparagus “middles” until tender and vibrant, about 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Blend the blanched asparagus with the reserved cooking liquid. Add in 2 Tbsp oilve oil and the basil leaves until silky smooth.
Set this aside to add to the risotto at the end.
Thinly slice the leeks, rinsing away any dirt.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the leeks and saute until softened then add chopped garlic and chilli (optional) and cook another 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add in the arborio rice and stir to coat, about one minute. Deglaze with white wine (if using) and cook the wine off.
Add 1 cup hot veggie broth scraping up any browned bits.
Bring to a gentle simmer, over med-low heat stirring occasionally, letting the rice absorb all the broth.
Continue adding the hot broth 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, each time, stirring often.
At the same time that you add the last cup of broth, add the rest of the asparagus middles along with the tips, letting them cook in the risotto 3 minutes or so. At this point, the rice should be creamy yet slightly al dente.
Stir in the blended asparagus-basil sauce, add the salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
Heat gently over low heat letting it thicken a bit, but taking care not to cook too long otherwise you’ll lose the vibrant colour.
Divide the risotto among bowls and garnish with percorino or parmeasn cheese, pinenuts, and a few extra basil ribbons.
Enjoy with a fresh salad or top with a piece of roasted fish, grilled chicken or sauteed mushrooms if you want more protein.