Purple Sprouting Broccoli Risotto Recipe

This purple sprouting broccoli risotto recipe is quite a special one for me – it’s a home-cooking version of one of the recipes I developed for my final exams at Le Cordon Bleu back in March. It makes seasonal purple sprouting broccoli the star, while the additions of basil, lemon zest and pine nuts come together to make a dish that really sings.

If you don’t have purple sprouting broccoli, Tenderstem, regular broccoli or asparagus will all work just as well.

Ingredients (serves 2):
– 12 stems purple sprouting broccoli (about 125g), ends trimmed
– 1½ tbsp pine nuts
– 1 small onion, diced
– 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
– 150g risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
– 700ml vegetable stock
– 1 small courgette, grated
– 20g fresh basil, leaves picked and roughly chopped
– 1 lemon, zested, ½ juiced

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Put the broccoli in a small baking dish with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil; roast for 20-25 minutes, until the stems are soft and the florets beginning to crisp. Put the pine nuts in a separate small baking dish and add to the oven for the final 2 minutes to toast (be careful not to burn them).
  2. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened but not browning. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the risotto rice and toast for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to brown at the edges. Add a good ladle-full of the stock and stir well to help the rice absorb the stock and release its starch. Repeat, adding more stock, for 15-18 minutes, until the rice is creamy but still has some bite (you may not need all the stock). Add the grated courgette for the last 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, roughly chop half the roasted broccoli and transfer to hand blender or small food processor. Blitz with half the basil, 1 tbsp pine nuts, the lemon juice and enough olive oil to make an earthy, fairly thick pesto.
  5. Stir the pesto through the risotto, along with the lemon zest and remaining basil. Season to taste. Top with the roasted broccoli and pine nuts to serve.

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