Master the Italian art of risotto with 5 simple key steps – All it takes is 20 mins only from start to finish!
Spring is the perfect time to indulge into this light salmon and asparagus risotto, and learn all the secrets to make this traditional dish from Italian cuisine. You will be impressed on how easy actually is to prepare this beautiful basic recipe!
How to make the perfect risotto?
Simple, you only need to follow 5 key steps:
1) The rice – Choosing the right rice is the first step for a great risotto. Go for arborio, carnaroli, or a variety called vialone nano for more robust flavours. They’re mostly available in supermarkets these days, but if you can’t find it, any Italian food shop should have at least one of those rice.
2) The tostatura – Toasting the rice is as important as the rice itself. You should first sweat the onion in the pan, then add the rice and toast for 2 mins, and pour the wine in straight after. Never allow the ingredients to brown, as it will spoil the delicate risotto flavors.
3) The stock – Always add warm vegetable/seafood/meat stock one ladle at the time, while cooking the risotto. This way you allow the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next ladleful, ensuring the rice reaches the perfect creamy consistency. Whichever you choose, make a tasty, awesome stock, the better it is, the best flavors you will get.
4) The stirring – Keep stirring continuously all the way long while cooking the risotto. This helps to release the starch ooze out of the rice and gives risotto its unique creamy texture.
5) The mantecatura – The final and most important step of risotto is adding the cheese and butter in. Take the pan off the heat and beat in cold butter flakes and beat in really cold butter cubes and handful of Parmesan cheese. Leave the risotto to sit for a couple of minutes so that all the flavors and liquid absorb and settle.
I’ve opted for a delightful salmon and asparagus risotto, the combination of these ingredients makes a fantastic spring main course. I especially love making risotto when I’ve guests over for dinner, as it only takes one pot and 20 mins, so it’s super quick and totally mess-free!
Also, did I mention it tastes amazing? Light and refreshing, salmon and asparagus happily marry together with risotto, and the final addition of freshly grated lemon zest gives a lovely tangy flavor to the dish.
Risotto can be made using many kinds of broth—vegetable, meat, poultry, seafood, and different types of wine ( including champagne), so don’t be shy and use the variations that work best for your taste.
Th first time you make risotto can be challenging, so make sure you have a look at my step-by-step risotto recipe and just swap the ingredients with you favorite ones, or follow this easy and pretty salmon and asparagus risotto recipe.
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 6oz /180gr Carnaroli Rice
- 7oz /200gr fresh salmon fillet, steamed and cut into chunks.
- 6 stalks asparagus, woody ends snapped off, cut into chunks
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 1 onion, finely minced
- 2 knobs of butter
- a handful Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest, to serve
- Sea salt & black pepper, freshly cracked, to taste
- Heat a knob of butter in a large skillet and sautée the onion for 2 minutes, until softened but not browned.
- Turn the heat up, add the rice and toast until translucent,, about 2 mins.
- Pour in the wine, and let the alcohol evaporates, stirring once or twice.
- Keep cooking the risotto, stirring continuously, by adding a ladle of stock when needed. Cook for about 15 min.
- While you cook the risotto, blanch the asparagus in a pot of lightly salted boiling water for about 3-4 mins. Drain under cool running water, pat dry and set aside.
- When the risotto is almost ready, stir in ⅔ of the salmon meat and the fresh chopped parsley.
- Take the pan off the heat and add a knob of butter and grated Parmesan in. Stir until you reach the perfect creamy consistency, gently fold the asparagus in, season to taste and allow to sit for a couple of mins.
- Sprinkle with freshly grated lemon zest and serve.