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Oven baking this dish is far easier than stirring the risotto over heat for 30 minutes. I've used smoked paprika to give it a nice smokey flavour.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 600 g asparagus, trimmed
- 1⁄2 teaspoon smokey paprika
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 500 g ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 fat red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 250 g risotto rice
- 600 ml boiling water
- 1 teaspoon saffron strand
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, add the asparagus and fry for 3-4 minutes until browned. Sprinkle over the paprika. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon.
- Add the remaining oil to the frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, red chili pepper and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon over the top of the asparagus and put on the bottom shelf of the oven.
- Put the risotto rice into a non-stick roasting tin, cover with the boiling water and stir in the saffron. Cover with foil and place in the oven on the shelf above the asparagus. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the rice is just cooked and the asparagus is tender.
- Fluff up the rice with a fork and spoon onto warmed individual plates. Spoon over the asparagus and tomatoes and garnish with the basil leaves.