any occasion asparagus & leek risotto

This is another toothsome vegetarian meal, perfect for meat-free Mondays or really, any occasion. Risotto, a special kind of Italian rice that can easily absorb a fair amount of liquid without become mushy, is cooked with broth until it reaches a beautifully creamy consistency.
Some of the main ingredients used when cooking risotto are onion, white wine, parmesan, butter and broth.
Although it seems like quite a lengthy process, it really does not take much time to cook. Risotto simply needs a little patience and good fresh ingredients, to make it a mind-blowing meal.

ingredients | serves 4 | a little effort
1 medium sized white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
1C white wine
3C chicken or vegetable stock
3 leeks, sliced diagonally
200-300g fresh asparagus, sliced with tips left whole
1C risotto rice
juice & zest of 1 lemon
3T butter
1C cream, full fat
bunch fresh thyme, stalks removed
1C finely grated parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
2T olive oil
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
creme fraiche, optional (garnish)
chopped chives, optional (garnish)

instructions
Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Submerge the sliced asparagus and tips into the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute. (This is called blanche). Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and dunk it into iced water. Leave to cool for 1 minute, remove and set aside.
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot. Add the chopped onion & garlic and cook until glossy. Add the sliced leeks, stir to coat and cook for about 3 minutes.
Tip the risotto rice into the pot and stir to coat. Mix the wine and stock and pour a ladle full into the rice mixture. Cook on a low simmer until mostly evaporated before adding another ladle of the stock & wine mixture.
Repeat this process until you have used all of the stock mixture. Add the blanched asparagus, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and thyme, combine and cook for about 2 minutes while stirring.
Add the cream, lemon juice, zest and parmesan, combine and cook for about 5 minutes, while stirring, until thickened and the cheese has melted into the sauce.
Taste and season with salt & black pepper.
Stir the parsley through the mixture.

Garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche, shavings of parmesan and chopped chives and serve with a side salad or roasted vegetables.



haddock risotto with leeks & peas

I love a good risotto and will pay good money for a well cooked, tasty one although sometimes this seems like a tough request or expectation.
A good risotto is a process and needs a little love for a delicious end result. Take the time, nurture the arborio rice and you will be left with a wonderfully tasty meal, perfect for lunch or dinner.
Arborio rice is a starchy, short-grained rice variety that produces a luxuriously creamy finish and can absorb quite a bit of liquid without becoming mushy.
A little effort for this one but well worth your time and patience.
I used skinless, de-boned haddock that was lightly smoked. It has a flaky texture and a beautifully delicate flavor, perfect for the rich, creamy risotto it is served with
This dish is quite rich so is best served it with a simple rocket & avocado or tomato salad or simple steamed vegetables.

ingredients | serves 4 -6 | a little effort
270g haddock fillet, lightly smoked & de-boned
350ml milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
300g uncooked risotto
600ml fish stock
1C dry white wine
1/3C cream
3T creme fraiche
4 leeks, washed and sliced diagonally
1C frozen peas
3/4C finely grated Parmesan
1t dried dill
1.5t fine salt
1.5t black pepper
zest of half a lemon
bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
fresh dill, garnish (optional)
2T olive oil
80g salted butter

how to do it
In a pot, bring the milk and bay leaf to a gentle boil. Gently submerge the haddock fillet into the milk, bring it down to a simmer and poach for two to three minutes per side.
Remove the haddock using a slotted spoon. Set aside and reserve the milk for later use. Mix the fish stock and white wine together in a large jug. Set aside.
In a large pot, melt 20g butter with the olive oil. Saute the chopped onion until glossy taking care not to burn it. Add the leaks and cook until soft. About three minutes.
Add the uncooked risotto to the pot and stir to coat. Add the garlic and dried dill and cook for one minute while stirring.
Gently pour about one cup of stock & wine mixture into the risotto and stir. Leave to cook on a gentle heat, stirring twice, until almost fully absorbed. Repeat this until you have used all of the liquid. Add the remaining 60g butter and stir through.
Now pour the poaching milk and cream into the risotto and leave to simmer, while stirring for about three minutes.
Add the peas, stir and cook for three minutes. Stir the creme fraiche through the risotto mixture. Add the salt, pepper, zest, parsley and parmesan and stir well.
Flake the poached haddock into the risotto and give it a gentle mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with fresh dill if using.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x