It is important that the stock is simmering at all times so keep it on the stove close to the risotto pot. Heat a heavy saucepan and add three-quarters of the butter, the leek, garlic, onion and fennel seeds. Stir gently and sauté until the onions are beginning to turn golden. Add rice, turn heat up to almost full and fry for 1 minute, stirring well. Add salt, pepper and herbs and stir well, then ladle on enough hot stock to cover rice by
Now add the sliced asparagus, another ladle of stock, stir well and wait until stock is absorbed again. By now the risotto will almost be done. If you want it al dente it will probably be ready, if you want it cooked more and of a more liquid consistency, then add more stock, stir well and continue cooking. Stir in the parmesan, remaining butter and lemon juice, and check seasoning. Eat piping hot with a little extra parmesan grated on top.
© 2003 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.