Up until about 2 years ago I'd never eaten risotto. I'd always thought it was a complicated fancy dish that had to much sauciness and cream for me to handle. Then on a trip to England I was faced with many restaurants that didn't have a large selection of vegetarian options, also I was the only vegetarian in the group I was with, so you can see my dilemma.
Tired of the seemingly endless salads, bread and sandwiches I'd been eating, I decided to go for the risotto one night. I guess it was luck because that was where I first discovered what risotto could be. The flavor was incomparable and the rice had a smoothness to it I'd never known.
I came away from that trip wanting nothing more than to make risotto in my own home.
Risotto makes me feel all cozy inside, so it was the perfect meal for the damp day we had. I love the time and attention risotto takes, all the flavors come together so nicely, it makes my mouth want to do a little dance. This is truly a dish made with lots of love.
You really can't ignore risotto at all, not like when you normally cook rice. You need to give it your undivided attention. Otherwise, it's pretty simple to make, just be ready to stir for 25-30 minutes uninterrupted or you'll burn it.
Leek, Mushroom and Lemon Risotto
Adapted from Vegetarian
8 ounces trimmed leeks
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
scant 1 3/4 cups arborio rice
5 cups hot vegetable stock
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh chives and flat-leaf parsley
salt and ground pepper
lemon wedges and springs of parsley, to serve
Wash the leeks well. Slice in half lengthwise and roughly chop.
Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic for 1 minute making sure not to burn. Add leeks, mushrooms and salt to season, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened and browned. Remove the mixture from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pan and cook the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add a ladle full of stock(about a 1/2 cup) to the pan and cook gently, stirring, until all the liquid is absorbed. Gently stir in more stock as each ladle full is absorbed, this should take 25-30 minutes. The risotto will become thick and creamy, and the rice should be tender, but not sticky or gluey.
Just before serving, stir in the leeks, mushrooms, remaining butter, lemon zest and 3 tablespoons or lemon juice, half the Parmesan and the herbs. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve, sprinkled with remaining Parmesan and herbs. Serve with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley.