Pierre Koffmann's vegetarian risotto recipe produces a simple yet delicious dish, and is endlessly adaptable depending on what vegetables are in season at the time. Parmesan contains animal rennet, so to make the dish strictly vegetarian simply swap out the cheese for a similar vegetarian equivalent.
Koffmann's cooking is undeniably refined; classical yet humble, with provincial French touches grounding the skilful elegance of the food. Taking inspiration from his Gascon roots, Koffmann artfully extracts extraordinary flavour from ordinary ingredients and cuts.
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To begin, make the vegetable stock. Add the water to a pan, bring to the boil and add the vegetables and salt. Pour in the wine, return to the boil and add all of the herbs and spices. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes
1 bay leaf
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh coriander
2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
8 parsley stalks
12 pink peppercorns
500ml of white wine
200g of carrots, very finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
130g of leek, very finely chopped
150g of onion, very finely chopped
2 star anise
Once cooled, refrigerate - the stock will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Strain through a chinois lined with cheesecloth before using (or a regular sieve for a less clear result)
2 tsp coarse sea salt
To make the risotto, measure out 1 litre of the strained stock and place in a pan over a low heat. In another large, heavy-based pan, heat the oil and add the onion, red pepper and garlic. Fry gently for around 3 minutes, stirring often so that everything softens without browning
30ml of olive oil, or vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
Add the rice, stirring to coat the grains in oil, and gently fry until translucent. Add the wine (if desired) and allow to cook, stirring constantly until the wine has been absorbed by the rice
350g of Arborio risotto rice
150ml of white wine, optional
Add one ladleful of the hot stock to the rice, stirring constantly until absorbed completely. Add a second ladleful of stock, followed by the carrots. Depending on how tender you would like the carrots to be, you can add them before or after this step
1 carrot, chopped
Keep adding the stock by the ladleful, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed before adding another. Add the asparagus (or courgettes) with the last ladleful, then keep cooking until the rice is tender but with a slight bite. Season to taste and stir in the peas
150g of frozen garden peas, cooked
100g of asparagus, tips only, or finely diced courgettes
Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and Parmesan and place a lid on the pan. Leave to stand for 5 minutes to melt the butter and cheese, then mix thoroughly. Divide the risotto between bowls, garnish with edible flowers and Parmesan shavings and serve immediately
40g of butter, cubed
40g of Parmesan
edible flowers, to garnish
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