Risotto with asparagus and St George's mushrooms

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Asparagus and St George's mushrooms are the perfect match in a silky risotto, but you may need a forager to source you this particular sort of mushroom. You could also try using imported or wild morels, or, failing either, cultivated mushrooms.

1kg fine asparagus
300g St George's mushrooms
4 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
30ml olive oil
350g carnaroli rice
1.25ltrs vegetable stock
60g freshly grated Parmesan
90g butter
A couple of tablespoons of double cream
1tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the woody stalks from the asparagus and cut the rest into 7-8 cm pieces. Cook in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until tender. Remove any dirty stalks from the mushrooms and brush or wipe them clean then cut them into even-sized pieces if large or leave whole if small. Cook them on a medium heat in a frying pan with about 30g of the butter for about 2-3 minutes without colouring them too much, then put to one side. To make the risotto, take a thick-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and fry the shallots slowly for a few minutes, without allowing them to colour. Add the rice and stir well with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the stock a little at a time, stirring constantly and ensuring that each addition has been fully absorbed by the rice before adding the next.

When the rice is almost cooked add the asparagus, mushrooms and the Parmesan, then add a little more stock and then finally add the butter, double cream and parsley: the risotto should be quite moist. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve imediately.

To see Mark Hix's exclusive cookery videos, see http://www.independent.co.uk/hixcooks

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