Thursday, July 1, 2010

Leek Risotto

A number of readers have asked for the leek risotto recipe that we had with the spice-rubbed salmon we made last week. This recipe comes from our well-worn copy of Risotto: More than 100 Recipes for the Classic Rice Dish of Northern Italy by Judith Barrett and Norma Wasserman. Terrific book on risotto; every type of recipe you’d ever need from classic cheese risottos to main-meal variations with fish or beef and lamb. Risotto's velvety texture and subtle flavors dress up any dinner. As the authors say, “Leeks and cream make a delicious combination for risotto and will send you singing for seconds.”
Leek Risotto
Serves 6
3 leeks, white part only, cleaned carefully and cut into julienne strips (2 cups)
½ cup light cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbls. fresh parsley, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
½ up dry white wine
2 tbls. unsaled butter
1 tbls. olive oil
1/3 cup onion, finely minced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice

Heat butter in skillet over moderate heat. When it begins to foam, add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are wilted and tender. Add the cream and continue cook for a few minutes longer, until the cream has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Bring the broth to a steady simmer in a saucepan on the top of the stove. Keep the broth warm during the process of adding it incrementally to make the risotto.

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy 4-quart casserole over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until it begins to soften, being careful not to brown it. Add the rice, using a wooden spoon, stir for 1 minute, making sure all the grains are well coated. Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed. Begin to add the simmering broth, ½ cup a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next ½ cup. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

After approximately 30-40 minutes, when the rice is tender but still firm, add the leeks and the cream, Parmesan, and parsley and stir vigorously to combine with the rice. Serve immediately.

Tips and Tidbits
Leek mythology: The Roman Emperor Nero ate leek soup every day to make his voice clear and melodic for delivering long orations.
The original recipe says this dish serves 4, but the risotto is rich so I think it serves 6 just fine.

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