Packed with fresh vegetables containing vitamins B6, C and E, this wholesome risotto also provides folate from the asparagus, vitamin C and folate from the beans, vitamin C and calcium from the peas, vitamin C and folate from the leek and even more calcium from the cheese.
4 cups (1 litre) salt-reduced vegetable stock
1⁄4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄2 cup chopped well washed leek
250 g arborio rice
125 g (about 8) asparagus spears, cut into 3-cm lengths
125 g green beans, cut into 3-cm lengths
3⁄4 cup (115 g) green peas, thawed if frozen
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, dill, flat-leaved parsley and tarragon
1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
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In saucepan, warm stock, then add saffron and let stand off heat for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large frying pan, heat oil over medium-low heat, add carrots, garlic and leek and, stirring, cook for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add rice to vegetables and stir for 1 minute or until grains are glossy.
Return stock to heat and keep at a simmer. Add 1 ladleful stock to rice, stirring continuously until it has been absorbed. Continue stirring and adding stock, 1 ladleful at a time, for 15 minutes.
Add asparagus, beans and peas to rice and continue stirring and adding stock for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice and vegetables are tender. Remove pan from heat, stir in herbs and parmesan, and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Season with pepper to taste.