Creamy Leek Risotto
I am sooo full of leek puns that it’s a struggle to write this blog post and not to just leek all my puns onto the page. That one was a stretch, but like, whatever. I had to get that off my chest. Ok, now let’s just dive right into this recipe because it’s amazing and you need it now!!!
If you’ve never made risotto before, please do not be scared! I don’t know who first told me risotto was a pain in the ass to make, but whoever did scared me so much that I avoided making it for years. When I finally made risotto for the first time last year, I was shook at how SIMPLE it actually was. So, if you are struggling with risotto fears, please don’t be scared. THIS IS A SAFE SPACE FOR RISOTTO CURIOUS OR RISOTTO FEARFUL PEOPLE.
What’s the worst that could happen if you f%*k it up? How can I fix when rice feels “too firm?”
Something that encourages me to try new recipes and cooking techniques is to understand the “worst possible scenario.” For risotto, the worst possible texture scenario is that you are left with delicious mush. The worst possible flavor scenario is that you over salt or over season (which is highly avoidable if you just taste as you cook!!!!) When I let my followers know that this recipe was coming on my IG story, lots of people confided in me that their issue is that the rice is too firm. I have great news for you if that’s your fear or problem! Under cooked rice is a super easy fix! If this happens to you, just… cook it longer or add more liquid. My liquid to grain ratio should be on point and you won’t have this problem, but if for some reason you do experience too firm of rice, let the rice continue to soak for up to 10 extra minutes at the end of the recipe before plating. This extra time will allow it to residually absorb whatever liquid might not have been soaked in yet. If the rice is still too firm, slowly incorporate small amounts of liquid. With more liquid, you need more seasoning, so also make sure to taste as you cook and figure out if you want more salt as well.
I’ve never cooked with leeks. What are they lol?
Great question! Guess what?! I was also intimidated by leeks until last year, too! And guess what?!??! THEY ARE ALSO EASY TO HANDLE AND COOK WITH! Leeks are from the allium family, which onions are from. They have a mild, soft onion-y essence and in my opinion, are kind of like giant scallions. Unlike scallions, the dark green leaves are too tough to enjoy in sauté form, but can be used for flavoring liquids. My pointers for cooking with leeks would be to 1) slice the dark green leaves off the top and freeze them to use in broths and stocks (they are too firm to eat but they have a lot of flavor) and 2) WASH THEM thoroughly. You will notice the leeks contain a lot of dirt and sand in the layers, so it’s important to let them soak in a bowl of water, then rinse them in a strainer a few times to make sure every piece of dirt is gone. Here’s a guide on how to cut leeks. For this risotto, we are cutting them into half moon shapes. Here’s a guide on how to grow leeks!
What is this “pour it all in” method you’re doing? Will it all turn to mush?
From what I’ve learned, risotto is all about the right liquid to grain ratio. It’s typically 3 cups of liquid for 1 cup of rice (with classic arborio rice.) You’ll see here that we are using a total of 4 1/2 cups of liquid (wine, stock and cream) and 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice! I have made risotto this way since the beginning and it’s really just changed the game for me. Sometimes the grain can take a longer time to absorb the liquid, so be patient if you think that your rice is too firm. Chances are, it may look fully absorbed, but it’s not! You’ll know it’s done when the texture is fully cooked, while still firm to chew.You don’t want it feeling dry (like dried rice) or like a mush.
|1cup dry white wine|
|3cups chicken stock (can sub vegetable stock)|
|1 white onion, finely chopped|
|2tbsp unsalted butter|
|4 large leeks, thinly sliced into half moons and washed thoroughly|
|3large cloves garlic, minced|
|1 1/2cups arborio rice|
|1tsp dijon mustard|
|1/2cup heavy cream|
|3/4cup grated Parmesan (plus more for topping)|
|Chopped fresh parsley|
|Seared scallops or mushrooms|
|large pot or stock pot|
Pour the chicken stock and white wine into a large stock pot. Bring to a low simmer just to keep warm.
Heat olive oil in another large pot on medium heat.
Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt. Let it cook and soften, stirring every minute or so until translucent and fragrant.
Add 2 tbsp of butter to the pan. Once it's melted, add the leeks in and sprinkle another pinch of salt. Mix the salt into the onion and leek mixture and cook for 5 minutes (stirring every minute or so) until softened. Add the garlic in and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Pour the arborio rice into the pan and let it toast for 2-3 minutes, while mixing it every minute or so.
Return to the stock pot with the chicken and white wine mixture. Pour 2-3 ladles of the mixture onto the rice and mix. Let the rice absorb the initial "dose" of liquid for 2-3 minutes. Now, add the rest of the wine/chicken stock mixture to the rice mixture. Stir to make sure the rice is fully incorporated and season with a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of dijon mustard. Mix until the mustard is fully combine. Let the rice simmer and return to the pan every 3-4 minutes to give it a stir. Continue cooking until the rice is al dente and the liquid is evaporated. TIP: If you are preparing any proteins for topping, now would be a good time to multi task and prepare or cook those!
Once the liquid is absorbed, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and another pinch of salt to taste. Stir and let the rice absorb the cream (4-5 minutes.)
Return to the pan and taste the risotto. The texture of the rice should be fully cooked with a firm bite. If the rice isn't cooked enough, wait another 5 minutes and let the rice continue to absorb, Then taste it again. If it's still not cooked enough, add 1/4 cup more of chicken stock or heavy cream and continue the process until it's cooked to your liking. I prefer my risotto to be al dente, which is standard in restaurants as well.