I love this risotto. It’s full of fresh green vegetables and finished with lemon zest to really enhance that freshness. Lemon zest and juice basically my favourite seasoning, up there with salt and pepper. Once you’ve tried it on this risotto you’ll see why.
There’s loads of fresh vegetables in this dish, I’ve also made it with and without the chicken and both are equally good. I’ve just been craving a bit of a protein hit lately so put some in there. I’m a big fan of browning the chicken first for added flavour and more tender chicken at the end. I don’t love it when it’s just poached in the rice as the chicken cooks.
If you can eat onion then feel free to use brown onion instead of the spring onion (I can eat the green part so use this). You could also leave out the celery if your using brown onion, I put it in there to help develop the depth of flavour you get when you use onion in a risotto. If you’re more fructose intolerant than me then just leave the garlic out. You could add a sprinkle of asofeitida instead of the garlic too. If you haven’t tried asofeitida and you have a fructose intolerance you should definitely give it a try. It smells really pungent but the flavour is more mellowly onion like which is so handy when you can’t eat onion and garlic!
I used carnaroli rice in this recipe instead or arborio because i love it, it has such a great structure and doesn’t seem to disintegrate as easily as arborio, but you can use either.
2 Tbs olive oil
2 chicken breasts
2 cups arborio or carnoroli rice
1 litre chicken stock (+1-2 cups of water as needed)
1 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup spring onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch of asparagus, wooden stems removed, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup peas, frozen or fresh
3 cups baby spinach
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
Slice chicken into 1 cm thick strips and then cut these into thirds so you have bite sized pieces. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a large heavy based fry pan with high sides. Add chicken and cook for a few minutes until browned. Remove and set aside
Add remaining oil to the pan then add the celery, spring onion and garlic. Cook until celery is starting to soften and then add rice. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add wine. Once wine has evaporated add stock 1 cup at a time until rice is almost al dente. Use water if you run out of stock before this point. About 35 minutes. At this point add the asparagus, peas and cooked chicken. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the asparagus is tender and the rice is al dente. Remove from the heat and stir through the parmesan. Add a pinch of salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Check seasoning.
Grate lemon zest over the top of the risotto and serve with a wedge of lemon and another crack of black pepper.