2 ½ pints of vegetable stock
500g asparagus trimmed, with trimmings reserved
1 bay leaf
2 large onions chopped
50g unsalted butter
475g Arborio rice or brown rice
300ml dry white wine
25 g Parmesan grated cheese
Salt / pepper
Sprigs of basil to taste
Bring vegetable stock to boil, add asparagus trimmings and bay leaf and onion quarters and boil for 20 mins. Strain into another saucepan.
Cut the asparagus tips into 4cm lengths. Cut half of the stems into similar lengths and chop the rest finely, reserving a few spears to serve. Cook the tips and stems in the stock for 3 – 4 mins, until just tender.
Lift all asparagus from the stock, drain and refresh under cold water. Drain and reserve keep the stock simmering.
Melt half the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook gently until soft but not brown. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring constantly until the rice is opaque. Add wine and boil for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Add a ladleful of simmering stock and stir until it is absorbed, then repeat the process until nearly all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is almost cooked. Stir constantly to prevent the rice sticking.
Add all the asparagus, prawns with the remaining stock and cook until the asparagus is tender and the rice creamy. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve, topped with grated Parmesan and asparagus spears and garnished with basil sprigs.
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