I have a few favourite risotto recipes that I cook over and over but this one has a special place in my heart as it was the first risotto I ate that I actually enjoyed (the risotto that came before it had far too much rosemary and wasn't for me).
At the time, in my early twenties, I didn’t really cook a lot so I bought a chicken, mushroom and asparagus risotto from M&S and immediately became a convert. M&S still make this risotto but they’ve taken out the asparagus, which is a shame as it's lovely and brightens up the whole dish. I’ve added it back in as well as swapping chicken breasts for thighs but either will work in this recipe.
If you’re using chicken breasts, add them back into the risotto during the last 5 minutes of cooking so that they don’t dry out.
Marks and Spencer
- olive oil
- 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, sliced into 2cm strips (or breasts)
- 2 onions, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 150ml white wine
- 1½ chicken stock cubes (I use low salt)
- 300g risotto rice
- 150g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 200g asparagus, chopped into 3cm pieces
- salt and pepper
- small handful of fresh parsley, chopped (or fresh basil leaves)
- Fill your kettle with 1 litre of water and boil it.
- Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Fry 500g of chicken thigh or breast strips for 3-4 minutes, until the chicken loses its rawness, then tip into a bowl. The chicken doesn’t need to be cooked through at this stage.
- Place the saucepan back over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 diced onions and 3 chopped cloves of garlic. Fry for 5 minutes until the onions have softened.
- Add 150ml of white wine to the saucepan and when the wine starts to bubble, add 1½ chicken stock cubes, crushing them with a wooden spoon.
- Add 300g of risotto rice to the saucepan and stir for 1 minute to toast the dry rice then add around 200ml of water from the boiled kettle. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Keep stirring the risotto and add a good splash of water from the kettle whenever the rice starts to look dry.
- Once the timer sounds, add 150g of sliced mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves to the saucepan. Add the chicken thighs and their juices back into the saucepan (if you’re using breasts they go in later with the asparagus). Set the timer for 5 minutes.
- Keep adding water from the kettle and stirring the risotto - I usually use just under 1 litre of water in total. When the timer sounds, add 200g of chopped asparagus (and the chicken breasts if using) to the saucepan. Cook the risotto for another 5 minutes, stirring continually.
- Once the 5 minutes is up, find one of the larger pieces of chicken and cut it open to check that it’s cooked through. Taste the rice to check its texture (creamy but with bite) then season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the risotto to bowls or plates and top with chopped parsley or fresh basil leaves.