Grilled Courgette with Spring Risotto, Whipped Ricotta and Wild Garlic Oil

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The zucchini, courgette or baby marrow is a summer squash, a herbaceous vine whose fruit is harvested from June to October when their immature seeds and epicarp are still soft and edible. The courgette is a variety of cucurbit, which means it’s from the same family as cucumber, squash and melon. It’s one of the most popular vegetables in the squash family, being extremely versatile, tender and easy to cook.

What you need: (serves 4)

2 Grezzina courgettes

1 bunch of wild garlic

2 shallots (finely diced)

1 clove garlic (crushed)

200g risotto rice

1-litre veg stock

200g ricotta

12 courgette flowers or chive flowers

50g Parmesan

4 sprigs tarragon

200ml Olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 spears asparagus, tips removed stalk sliced.

1 handful garden peas

1 small glass of white wine

Method:

1) Firstly whip the ricotta by placing it in a bowl with a pinch of nutmeg, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Whisk until everything’s is combined and the ricotta is smooth. Leave this to one side.

2) To make the wild garlic oil, simply blend the wild garlic leaves and olive oil at a high speed until the mixture is smooth, vibrant and green. This usually takes around 4 mins. Pass this through a cheesecloth and store the oil in the fridge. This will last at least a month refrigerated.

3) Make the risotto by sweating the shallots in butter until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the rice, allowing it to coat in the butter. Then add the wine and cook off completely. Now while continuously stirring add the stock one ladle at a time. Do this until the rice is cooked al dente. Set this aside for a few minutes.

4) Cut the courgettes in half and score the flesh side. Add the courgettes to a medium heated pan until the courgettes get a nice dark colour on one side and cooked through. Transfer this to an oven tray ready to warm up in the oven.

5) To finish the risotto, slice the end of the asparagus into thick slices, reserving the spears. Add the slices to the risotto base along with the garden peas. Bring the risotto up to temperature and add a handful of grated parmesan and the chopped tarragon. With a peeler, take the reserved asparagus tips and shave them finely into ribbons. Dress with a little olive oil lemon juice and salt.

6) To serve, place a few spoon fulls of the risotto in the centre of a pasta bowl. Place the courgette half over the top and garnish with a few dots of the whipped ricotta, the shaved asparagus spears and chive flowers. Finally, drizzle the wild garlic oil over and around and serve.

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