Italian Salami, Asparagus and Fennel Risotto

Italian Salami, Asparagus and Fennel Risotto
by Hellers - NZ's Butcher
Risotto can be one of those dishes that seems to intimidate the average home cook but really its very simple and very satisfying to serve up to your family. Practise makes perfect and this lovely flavour combination is worth practising!

Yield: Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients:
  • 1.5L chicken stock salt reduced, warmed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 30g butter + 50g extra
  • 1 medium white onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 500g risotto rice (Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 asparagus spears cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 pack Hellers Italian salami cut into strips
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 4 fennel fronds picked
  • 100g shaved parmesan plus more to serve
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper
Instructions:

1. Heat a fry pan over medium heat with a dash of olive oil. Fry half the salami for 2-3 mins until crispy, set aside on absorbent paper.

2. In a large heavy based sauce pan heat the olive oil and 30g butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat but do not colour for 5-6 mins. Add the garlic for 1 min and be careful not to burn it. Remove onion and garlic from the pot and set aside.

3. Add the rice and toast it for 2-3 mins. Add the white wine and allow it to absorb giving it a stir. Add the onion and garlic back into the pot along with the bay leaf and stir.

4. Now start adding the stock one ladle at a time making sure that the stock is fully absorbed before adding another ladle. At this point you can pretty much countdown from 20 mins as this is approx. how long the process of adding ladles of stock will take. Stir the risotto as this helps create the sauce that suspends the rice.

5. Halfway through the stock ladling process add the asparagus and remaining salami. Once the rice is al dente [around the 20 min mark] remove it from the heat and stir in 50g butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, fennel fronds and 100g shaved parmesan.

6. To serve pour the risotto into a large serving dish and scatter the top with the crispy salami and more shaved parmesan.