1 red or yellow pepper
6-8 button mushrooms
2-4 asparagus spears (depending on size)
150ml extra virgin olive oil
1-1.2 litres vegetable or chicken stock
280g risotto rice (Piazza used semifino vialone nano rice)
80g Parmesan, grated
80g unsalted butter
handful thinly sliced basil leaves, (julienned)
handful chopped parsley leaves
salt and black pepper
First wash all the vegetables, paying particular attention to the leek, as it tends to hold grit between the leaves. Chop the vegetables into approximately 1cm pieces.
Pour 60ml of the olive oil into a large sauté pan and place over a high heat. Add the vegetables, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes, until they are tender and starting to caramelise around the edges. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Pour the stock into a pan and bring to the boil. Tip the rice into a separate saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place over a medium heat. Stir well to coat the grains in the oil before adding the vegetables to the pan and cooking for 2-3 minutes.
A ladleful at a time, add the hot stock to the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid is absorbed, before adding the next ladleful. When you have added most of the stock (you may not need all of it), season and taste the rice. It should be tender, with a little bite in the centre. At this point, remove the pan from the stove.
Add the Parmesan, butter and 50ml more olive oil to the pan and stir vigorously (this requires some energy) for 2-3 minutes until the risotto is creamy and fluffy. This is known as the "mantecare" step; it helps to emulsify the ingredients and results in a really rich, creamy finished dish. If the risotto now seems too thick, add a few drops of stock to loosen it slightly.
Divide between four plates, sprinkle over the basil and parsley and finish with a few drops of olive oil.