Put the kettle on to boil ready for preparing the vegetable stock, and place a wide-based, large saucepan over a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and allow to warm through.
Fry off the finely chopped onion and celery for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring so it doesn’t catch on the bottom, before turning down the heat and adding the garlic. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetable stock.
Allow the base flavours of the onion, garlic and celery to develop for a few minutes before then adding the rinsed risotto rice. Stir for a few minutes to allow the rice to begin to cook, add another drop of olive oil if it seems a bit dry. You could add an optional half glass of dry white wine here and leave to reduce.
With the vegetable stock made, begin to add a few ladlefuls – around 300-400 ml – then stir and leave the rice to begin to absorb the water. Repeat this process with relaxed attention for the next 10-15 minutes while the rice cooks. You may not need all the stock.
10 minutes in, add the peas and edamame (or broad beans if in season) and allow to thaw if frozen, adding more stock as necessary. When the rice seems nearly ‘al dente’ with just a little too much of a bite and is a few minutes away from ready, tumble in the asparagus and either wild garlic or shop-bought pesto, or home-made pesto (see below).
Cook for 3-4 more minutes, adding more stock if necessary to cook the asparagus gently.
Take the pan off the heat and leave with a lid on for 5 minutes to allow the rice and flavours to settle. You could stir through an optional tablespoon of a dairy-free butter or big drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil at this point, just to add unctuousness.
To serve, sprinkle over fresh herbs – dill and parsley work really well, but fresh basil would also add an Italian flavour if you haven’t used a basil pesto. The dish can also be finished with a vegan Parmesan-style cheese or nutritional yeast and plenty of freshly-cracked black pepper.
To make the pesto (if not using wild garlic or shop-bought pesto):
Add the basil, garlic, nuts, lemon juice, nutritional yeast (if using), and salt to a food processor or blender, and blend/mix on high to form a paste.
Add the olive oil gradually.
Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the pesto is a consistency is quite think but you would able to pour it.
Add more salt, nuts or seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic and lemon according to taste.