Lamb & Vegetable Soup
For the tomato essence:
•850g cherry tomatoes
•1/2 small fennel, sliced
•1 garlic clove, finely sliced
•1/4 celery stick, chopped
•1/4 shallot, finely sliced
•1 sprig fresh basil
•1 sprig fresh thyme
•2 -3 drops Tabasco sauce
•1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
For the risotto:
•2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
•1 onion, finely chopped
•1 garlic clove, crushed
•250g risotto rice, such as carnaroli
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
•150g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
•400ml tomato essence
•10 cherry tomatoes, halved
•80g asparagus, cut into 5cm lengths
•4 tsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
To make the tomato essence, place all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together.Place the mixture, in batches, into a food processor and pulse five times for 1-2 seconds each time. Transfer the purée into a large bowl and repeat until all of the vegetables have been puréed.
Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for six hours. Line a clean bowl with a large piece of muslin and spoon in the tomato mixture. Draw the corners of the muslin cloth together and tie up tightly. String the muslin ‘bag’ up above the bowl to catch the strained juices. Leave to strain overnight. (Do not be tempted to squeeze the muslin.) Once strained, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. To make the risotto, heat a pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and gently fry the onion for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the rice, stirring well to coat in the olive oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice is translucent. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the halved (or whole) cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just tender and collapsed slightly.
Add the butternut squash to the pan and mix well. Add the water and half of the tomato essence, then bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Place the remaining tomato essence into a saucepan and warm through.
By now, the rice should have absorbed all of the liquid. Remove the lid and stir well. Add the asparagus cook for a couple of minutes. Add the peas and parmesan and stir well, adding a little water if the risotto is too dry.To serve, spoon the risotto into a small serving bowl. Top with a few roasted tomatoes, a little sprinkling of parmesan.