We are so fortunate to have asparagus grown right here in the New Forest, and New Forest Marque producer, Dan Tanner’s Asparagus from Sopley Farm can be bought directly from his farm, in many of our local greengrocers and farm shops or gracing the menus of local restaurants and cafes during the 8 week season (from mid-April until mid-June).
- 500g/1lb 2oz Local Asparagus
- 1 finely onion, chopped
- 60g/2oz butter
- 500g/18oz risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
- 1½ litres/2½ pints hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 400ml/15 fl oz white wine
- 100ml/3½ fl oz Double Cream
- 60g/2oz freshly grated Old Winchester (from Lyburn Cheese) a great alternative to Parmesan!
- 4 local free range eggs (optional) – but they add an additional richness to the dish!
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the base of the asparagus – I find that if I gently snap fresh asparagus near the base, they will naturally break at the spot where is tends to be a little woodier!
- Put the stock in a pan, and heat to simmering point.
- Add the asparagus and cook gently until just cooked and tender. Drain, reserving the stock for your rice. Add wine to the stock and keep hot.
- Plunge the asparagus into iced water to stop the cooking process and help retain its bright green colour, then cut into small pieces, reserving some of the tips for decoration – set aside.
- Gently fry the onion in the butter until it becomes translucent.
- Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat, stirring so that it gets a good coating of butter.
- Add a ladle of hot stock/wine at a time, gently simmering until each ladle of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, continue stirring until all the stock has been absorbed. (add a little more or less stock according to whether your rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender and creamy). It is important to keep stirring all the time.
- Add the cream, the asparagus, half the cheese and a good grinding of black pepper to the risotto and give it a gentle stir.
- Gently poach your eggs.
- Serve your risotto in warm bowls, top with poached egg, asparagus tips and remaining cheese.
- Serve and enjoy!