300g carnaroli rice (risotto rice)
1 tsp sea salt
150g asparagus spears, trimmed at an angle
200g shelled small peas
150g shelled broad beans
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
125ml dry white wine
3 spring onions, finely chopped
150g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative, freshly grated, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp mascarpone
20g fresh chives, finely snipped
Tip the rice into a pan of lightly salted boiling water and cook gently for 5-6 mins, then drain in a sieve. There should still be a white core in the centre of the grains. Spread the part-cooked rice on a clean tray. Cool, then chill until you are ready to finish the risotto. (If covered with cling film, the rice can be kept chilled for up to 24 hrs.)
Bring 1 litre water to the boil in a large pan and add the sea salt, followed by the asparagus, shelled peas and beans. Return to a gentle boil and cook for 2 mins. Meanwhile, put lots of ice cubes into a large bowl half-filled with cold water. Drain the vegetables in a colander set over a bowl to catch and save the cooking water, then tip the veg straight into the bowl of iced water (this helps to keep the fresh colour). When the vegetables are cold, drain again and set aside.
Put the reserved vegetable cooking water into a saucepan and bring to the boil – this is now your stock for the risotto. In another large pan, gently sauté the shallot and garlic in the oil and half the butter for 3-5 mins until softened. Stir the wine into the risotto and cook until reduced by half. Tip in the rice and stir well to combine with the liquid.
Now add a ladle of boiling stock, some salt and stir until the water is absorbed. Add the remaining stock, a ladle at a time, stirring until absorbed before you add more. This takes about 10 mins, by which time the mixture should be slightly sloppy, not dry. You may not need all the stock. The rice is cooked when it is just softened and has a nice shiny glaze.
Gently stir in the vegetables and chopped spring onions, and return to a gentle simmer, adding a little extra stock if needed. Off the heat, stir in the grated Parmesan, mascarpone and the last of the butter. Check the seasoning and allow the risotto to rest for a couple of mins.
Just before serving, drizzle over a little olive oil and scatter over some more Parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh chives.