Asparagus and Chicken Risotto

I eat asparagus most days while our asparagus season reigns. Risotto is a perfect way of turning it into a glorious mid-week treat and adding torn leftover roast chicken towards the end, makes a very complementary addition. It’s not an occasion to hold back on butter and one to use freshly grated Parmesan. Special stock is not necessary.

Serves 2, generously
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 35 min

250g English asparagus
50g butter
1 shallot
½ (half) wine glass Noilly Prat, Vermouth or white wine
200g arborio rice
handful of torn roast chicken, preferably from leg or thigh
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for serving

Snap off the asparagus woody ends, rinse and boil for 10 minutes, covered, in 1 litre water. Cut the rest of the stalk into 4cm lengths. Add to the pan and boil, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Scoop asparagus into a sieve and discard the woody ends (or save, as I always do, for Scroungers Asparagus Soup). Cover the stock. Meanwhile, soften finely diced shallot in half the butter in a sauté pan. Stir in unrinsed rice, stir-frying until semi-translucent. Add alcohol, stirring as it bubbles away into the rice. Add one third of the hot stock, stirring as it sizzles then stirring regularly, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Add another third of hot stock, cook as before then add the final lot, continuing until the rice is almost tender with a firm centre and a creamy, porridge-like consistency. Allow about 20 minutes in total. Fold in the torn chicken, 1 tbsp of the Parmesan, remaining butter and asparagus. Cover and leave for 5 minutes before giving a final stir and serving with extra Parmesan.