Saturday 18 August 2018

A classic risotto that makes the most of fresh herbs and vegetables

 

Risi Bisi
Risi Bisi

This Venetian risotto is one of my favourites - a classic spring risotto that makes the most of an abundance of fresh young herbs and vegetables. Although it is classically made with Venetian risotto rice, called vialone nano, here I've chosen to use farro, so technically it should be called farro bisi!

RISI BISI WITH FARRO

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Risi Bisi
 

Serves 4

313 calories, 29.9g carbs, 15.5g fat, 5.6g saturated fat, 15.4g protein

Ingredients

750ml chicken or vegetable stock

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

2 garlic cloves, bashed to split the skins

2 shallots, finely chopped

6 spring onions, white and green parts separated, whites chopped

225g farro, washed and drained

225g large spinach leaves, washed

4 tarragon sprigs

15g flat-leaf parsley, chopped

500g fresh peas, podded, or 300g frozen peas, defrosted

175g asparagus, cut into 2.5cm pieces

15g unsalted butter

50g finely grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method

Place the stock in a deep stockpot and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and keep on a gentle simmer.

Heat the oil in a large sauté or risotto pan, add the garlic and cook until it starts to sizzle and flavour the oil, then remove and discard.

Add the shallots and chopped spring onions (white parts) to the pan and cook gently until they soften, then stir in the farro so each grain is coated with the oil.

Add the hot stock, about 4 ladles at a time, stirring after each addition and then partially covering the pan until the liquid has been absorbed. The process is not exactly the same as when using risotto rice, but you do not want the

grains to become mushy, so this is a good way of keeping tabs on it. Cook for about 25 minutes over a medium heat until the farro is tender but retains a little bite.

Meanwhile, place the green spring onion stalks, spinach and herbs in a food processor or blender, add 2 ladles of stock and whizz until very smooth.

For the final 10 minutes of simmering, stir the green purée through the farro and season to taste. When the grains are just tender, with not too much bite, add the peas and asparagus

and cook for 4 minutes. Add the butter and Parmesan and a ladleful of stock to loosen the mix if necessary, then remove from the heat and cover. Leave to rest for 3 minutes. Uncover, stir the risotto and check for seasoning.

Serve with extra Parmesan and cracked black pepper and a final drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

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