Leek and parmesan risotto

There’s something especially comforting about a bowlful of hot food on an autumn evening, eaten curled up on the sofa.

The nights are drawing in and outside the air is fresh with hints of bonfire and dampness. There are piles of leaves to kick through, fireworks to watch and marshmallows to toast. There is cider to mull.

I enjoy the soothing nature of constant stirring that a risotto requires, it fits with the calmness of autumn that comes before the rushing and excitement of December. It needs your attention but also demands very little thought. Throw in the cook’s bonus glass of wine (you need to test the wine you’ve put in, what if it’s horrible?!) and preparing this dinner is quite a relaxing affair.

This is a simple risotto but you can use the base recipe, minus the leeks and parmesan (although cheese will improve almost any risotto in my opinion), and add anything you feel like.

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Serves 2-3, depending on appetite.

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced into rounds
  • 200g arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1 medium glass white wine
  • 550g chicken or vegetable stock
  • 50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated

Heat the olive oil and half the butter over a medium heat in a pan (one that has a lid for later). Add the onions, garlic and leeks and gently fry for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the rice and turn the heat up. Stir the rice into the onions and leeks for a minute until it starts to turn translucent. Add the glass of wine and stir until it has absorbed into the rice.

Turn the heat back down and add the stock one ladle at a time, ensuring the liquid has absorbed into the rice before you add the next. Keep stirring the rice constantly.

Once you have added all the stock check the rice. It should be soft but with a slight bite to it. If it is still a bit too hard then add a ladle of water and check again. When it is done to your liking turn the heat off, add the remaining butter and parmesan and stir in. Cover with a lid for 2 minutes. During this time the risotto should thicken further and become creamy. Serve with the remaining wine (in glasses, for drinking!).

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