This post takes it’s inspiration from our in season abundance of beautifully fresh and vibrant spring greens. Casting around for something new and interesting to try, I recently stumbled across The Huffington Post’s article Donna Hay Has Reinvented Risotto and It’s Spectacular. A risotto containing no carbohydrates or rice. Just tender, in season asparagus spears blitzed in the food processor to resemble grains. A technique I’m very familiar with having already experimented with “ricing” our winter staples of cauliflower and broccoli in previous posts.
Donna Hay’s reimagined asparagus risotto is fresh and light. A welcome counterpoint to winter’s comforting and much starchier rendition. After witnessing a huge platter brought to the table seemingly inhaled before my eyes, I’m inclined to agree with Huff Post’s verdict that this version is pure genius. In my eyes, it’s a healthy, feel good bowl of green deliciousness. Even better it’s easily adapted into an inspired 5-2 fast day recipe idea.
As much as I love fresh balls of buffalo mozzarella (and even more decadently creamy, oozy burrata; in my opinion most possibly the heavenliest cheese on earth), to render Donna’s idea into an effortless fast day offering I’ve halved the quantities of cheese used in her recipe and used lighter bocconcini.
As originally stated a 250g ball of buffalo mozzarella accounted for a whopping 595 calories. Undeniably significant when you consider all the remaining ingredients combined yield just under 520 calories. One simple substitution brings each enormously satisfying serve in at just 186 calories, with no dilution of any of the flavour and just a little of the richness. Of course I’d happily make this dish on a feast day, using as much buffalo mozzarella or its even creamier cousin; burrata as I please.
Donna Hay’s Asparagus “Risotto” With Snow Peas, Mozzarella and BasilAdapted from The Huffington Post Donna Hay Has Reinvented Risotto and It’s Spectacular
Serves 4 (186 calories per serve)
1 kg (about 8 bunches) asparagus (200 calories)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (120 calories)
1 brown onion, finely chopped (45 calories)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (8 calories)
3 cups (750ml) hot chicken stock (60 calories)
sea salt and cracked black pepper
200g snow peas, blanched and shredded (84 calories)
½ tub (110g) fresh bocconcini (mozzarella balls), torn (225 calories)
½ cup fresh basil leaves (2 calories)
SNAP off woody ends of asparagus and discard. Place asparagus in large bowl of food processor in two batches and pulse until it resembles rice. Set aside.
HEAT oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened.
INCREASE heat to high, add asparagus, stock, salt and pepper and cook for 6–8 minutes or until asparagus is just tender.
DIVIDE asparagus risotto between bowls, top with snow peas, torn bocconcini balls and basil and sprinkle with pepper to serve.