As an Italian, I can say that risotto does not have to involve a lot of preparation! I use frozen vegetables which taste perfect any time of the year! You can use a medley of mushrooms if you prefer, but porcini tend to have a stronger flavour which is perfect for vegetarian risottos.
1 litre vegetable stock
150g frozen sliced porcini mushrooms
150g frozen asparagus
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
80g butter, divided
1/2 onion, finely sliced
320g Arborio rice
120ml white wine
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
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Heat up the vegetable stock in a saucepan. Keep warm on low heat. Slice frozen asparagus if necessary (you might need to thaw for 5 minutes to be able to slice).
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat then cook garlic cloves until golden in colour, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add porcini and asparagus then stir to coat in oil. Add 1 ladle of stock, stir, then cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and check seasoning. Keep vegetables warm on very low heat.
Heat 40g butter in a large pan over medium-low heat then cook onion until softened. Add rice, allow to toast for a few minutes, until rice becomes translucent and has absorbed the butter. Turn heat to medium-high, pour in the wine and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated and the wine is mostly absorbed by the rice.
Reduce heat to medium then add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring after each addition and adding the next one only when the first one is fully absorbed. After the first 10 minutes, add the mushrooms and asparagus to the rice. Continue adding stock as described above. The rice will take about 18 to 20 minutes to fully cook.
Remove from heat, add the remaining 30g butter and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Let stand for a few minutes then garnish with fresh parsley and serve.