Tag Archives: asparagus

Asparagus and broad beans risotto with miso and Umeboshi flavours

An all singing, all dancing vegetarian dish to shake our bodies out of the summer slumber! This is as rejuvenating as an outdoor yoga class or a jog in a bluebells’ wood. The miso and Umeboshi (marinated prune paste) are very good and calming for the intestines and will help restore depleted energies. You can find the miso paste and the umeboshi paste in Japanese shops and most health shops in the UK. The Japanese use them to restore intestinal bacteria after an illness or a course of antibiotics. The umeboshi is quite tangy and salty in taste so you will not need to add any salt if you use it – Especially combined with Miso.

You can do without those weird and wonderful ingredients and replace them with a good chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer .  I just wanted to include a healing and strengthening aspect into my recipe . Both versions are delicious.

Ingredients list:

  • 1 shallot
  • olive oil
  • 10 asparagus
  • handful of frozen or fresh broad beans
  • 250g of arborio or other risotto rice
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 600ml of boiling water
  • soy cream to finish
  • 1 Tbsp of umeboshi plum paste
  • 2 Tbsp of white miso paste (or 1/2 cube stock)
  • Pepper to finish

This quantity serves 5/6 as starter portions or 3 as main. Halve all quantities to cook a plentiful meal for one! There should be just a bit left over for the dog.

This month is the perfect time to use up the latest asparagus and broad beans from the garden or allotment. They are still coming up on market stalls at a bargain. I have even seen them recently at a Pick-your-own farm!

Chop up the shallot and fry it in a little olive oil.

Then throw in the rice and fry that too until the grains look transparent.

Add the wine and simmer until it is almost gone. Then add half the stock and continue simmering and turning. The secret of a good risotto is to add the liquid in stages and to keep the mix soupy and wet until the end so it does not dry too much as it cools down in the plate. Keep simmering and adding stock until the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile (or previously), you have washed and trimmed the asparagus and steamed them. The broad beans need to be shelled but not pre-steamed.

You need to season with the umeboshi and the miso paste about 5/10 minutes before the end- not before because boiling would destroy a lot of the healthy bacteria.

Add the asparagus stalks but keep the tips aside. Add the broad beans as well towards the end of the cooking and cover. Rice usually takes 20 min in all.

Dress with a dash of cream, some pepper from the mill and serve warm but not hot.

Decorate with fresh mint!

Decorate with fresh mint!

Here I have used fresh peas and decorated with fresh mint from the potted garden.

>Asparagus risotto

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This recipe comes courtesy of one of my favourite suppliers, Abel and Cole who deliver fresh boxes of vegetables to us through the winter months. Their book “Cooking outside the box” is full of great ideas to prepare interesting British produce such as Kale or swede, things that I had never cooked before!
But this is a recipe for now: the PYOs are bursting with asparagus ready to be picked…

Ingredients list:
Onion, 1
Olive oil
Risotto or round rice, 1mug
White wine, 1/2 mug
Chicken stock, 4 mugs
Large bunch of asparagus
Double cream, 2 tbsp
Grated parmesan
Pepper
4 Strips of parma ham or Speck

The secret of a good risotto is simply that it must cook very slowly and with plenty of liquid.
Sauté the onion in a little olive oil then add the rice and slowly pour the wine: When it is all gone, you can start adding the stock but stirring all the time… Lower the heat if it is evaporating too fast.
Meanwhile, steam the asparagus spears for 3 or 4 min.

Add the cream when the rice is soft and still moist. Stir the chopped asparagus through, check it is moist enough and add some stock if not. Add the parmesan, pepper. Decorate with the ham and serve immediately.

Recipe from Abel and Cole