Croatia and Italy share many similarities when it comes to food. Meals with rice, called “risotto” are quite common in Croatia. You will love this wonderful combination with cheese. Have it with a glass of red or white wine!
100 g unsalted butter, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 bunches asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 cm pieces
750 ml (3 cups) hot good-quality vegetable stock
60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
200 g (1 cup) carnaroli (see note) or arborio rice
60 ml (¼ cup) dry white wine
50 g (⅔ cup) grated parmesan
100 g Maffra cheese (see note), thinly sliced
Melt 50 g butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add half the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add two-thirds of the asparagus and 125 ml stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Process in a food processor until smooth.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add rice and cook for a further 2 minutes or until it starts to stick to the base of the pan. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes or until almost evaporated. Add remaining 625 ml stock, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 12 minutes or until stock is almost absorbed and rice is al dente.
Uncover, increase heat to high, add asparagus purée and remaining asparagus, and stir for 2 minutes or until sliced asparagus is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 50 g butter and parmesan. Serve with Maffra.
• Carnaroli, from specialist food shops, is a short-grain risotto rice.
• Maffra, from selected delis and specialist food shops, is a sharp cheddar from Victoria.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 13, pg95.
Photography by Derek Swalwell