Mussel and sprouting broccoli risotto

Serves 4

I like to treat purple sprouting broccoli in the same way as I would asparagus; it really does deserve to be used in so many more ways than just as a vegetable accompaniment. It's much more interesting and has loads more flavour than those big green heads of broccoli.

1kg mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
120ml white wine
200-300g small stems of sprouting broccoli
30g butter
200g carnaroli rice
750ml-1litre hot fish stock
80g unsalted butter
1tbsp double cream

Put the mussels in a large pan with the white wine, cover with a lid and cook on a high heat, stirring them every so often, for 2-3 minutes until the shells open, then drain in a colander over a bowl reserving the cooking liquid.

Cook the sprouting broccoli in boiling salted water for 3-6 minutes until tender, then drain in a colander and refresh under the cold tap so it doesn't continue cooking. Trim the leaves and flowering heads and thinly slice the tender stems.

Remove most of the mussels from the shells, leaving about 20 in the shells to add at the end. Strain the mussel cooking liquid through a fine strainer into the hot fish stock.

To make the risotto: take a thick-bottomed pan, melt the butter in it and add the rice. Stir with a wooden spoon for a minute or so on a low heat. Gradually add the hot stock a little at a time, stirring constantly and ensuring that each addition of liquid has been fully absorbed by the rice before adding the next. Season with a little salt and pepper during cooking. The risotto should be of a moist consistency, and not too stodgy. When the rice is almost cooked, add the mussels, broccoli, butter and cream. Stir well, cook for another minute or so, then check the consistency and add more seasoning and stock if necessary. Serve immediately.

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