In the interests of getting the allotment ready for spring, all our leeks have now been pulled up. Some of them were reasonably sized but mostly they were on the slim side. However, as with many things in life, size is not everything and our leeks were full of flavour. I have been enjoying them in various forms since the turn of the year (lemon, goats cheese and leek tart was my highlight) but last week I turned them into a cheesy risotto. What I really wanted was some pasta in a cheese sauce with sautéed leeks but having given up wheat for Lent, that was off the menu…
Here is my recipe. I ate this quantity all by myself (in my defence I have been running a lot further lately and that makes for hunger) but it would be enough for two if accompanied by a chunky salad.
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
100g arborio risotto rice
125ml of white wine (optional – just add 125ml more stock if you don’t have any wine)
200ml of vegetable stock (I just use basic stock cubes)
50g mature cheddar cheese, finely grated (or whatever cheese you fancy, parmesan would likely work)
a few chopped walnuts to garnish
The first thing you must do with leeks is wash them very carefully. This means splitting them lengthwise from a few cm into the white part right through the leafier, green part. Put them, upside down, under cold, running water and gently clean the inner parts of the leaves, making sure there is no dirt or grit remaining. Shake the leeks to get rid of excess water then slice them. I like mine about half to one cm wide and I use the whole leek, white and green.
Melt the butter in the vegetable oil and gently fry the leeks and garlic with the lid on the pan, lifting it now and again to stir.
When the leeks are softened, add the rice and stir well for a minute or two.
Add the wine and cook everything gently, stirring regularly so that the rice doesn’t stick. As the mixture becomes drier add more hot stock. Keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is cooked. It should be soft but still retain some bite. About the time that you add the last bit of stock, add the grated cheese too. It doesn’t matter if you put it in at the end, it will melt with the heat of the cooked rice.
Taste your risotto and add any salt or pepper you think necessary, or indeed, more cheese.