4-6 large white asparagus spears, approx. 370g
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil
a couple pinches salt
For garnish: Pecorino Romano, lemon zest, white pepper, cold-pressed olive oil
1 bunch green asparagus, approx. 300g
1 bunch wild leeks (ramps)
1 ½ Tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
½ Tbsp. lemon juice
1-3 Tbsp. cooking liquid
salt to taste
a dollop of pure maple syrup
Pecorino Romano to taste (lots!)
Begin by preparing the sauce. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the green asparagus, wash them well and chop them into similar size pieces. Rinse the ramps well, removing any soil.
Bring a pot of water the boil, add the asparagus and simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the ramps, submerging them in the water for 1 more minute, just to take the raw edge off. Do not overcook! Immediately drain the asparagus and ramps reserving the cooking liquid in a separate bowl. Rinse the vegetables under very cold water, or submerge them in an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Reserve 2-3 pieces asparagus for garnish.
Add the cooked asparagus, ramps and remaining sauce ingredients (except for the salt and cheese) to a blender and process on high until smooth. Add cheese and salt, taste for seasoning. If necessary, add more cooking liquid to achieve a thinner sauce.
Prepare the asparagus “rice”. Peel the white asparagus from the base all the way to the tip. Using a mandoline, a julienne peeler/slicer, or your excellent knife skills, create long, thin vertical strips. Line them up, then cut them across to create very small “grains”, each about the size of a grain of rice. Set aside. Mince shallots.
In a frying pan heat a little ghee or olive oil (if using olive oil make sure to cook over low heat!), add the shallots and a pinch or two of sea salt. Cook until the shallots have nicely caramelized, about 7-10 minutes. Add the white asparagus rice and stir to combine with the shallots. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the green sauce and fold into the rice, warming it. Continue to add the asparagus/ramps cooking liquid that you reserved, or just water, to thin out the consistency. The texture should be like regular risotto: loose and creamy, not sticky and dry nor too wet and soupy. Make sure it is hot all the way through. Season to taste, add more cheese if desired
Plate the risotto and sprinkle with lemon zest, white pepper, more cheese if desired, and olive oil. Add a couple pieces of asparagus to the top and serve immediately.