Leek & tarragon risotto with pecans

Leek & tarragon risotto

Want to hear a funny mondegreen? There’s a line in the Belle and Sebastian song, She’s Losing It, that goes, “Inch for inch and pound for pound, who needs boys when there’s Lisa around.” Well…David (H,C.G.) initially heard it as “Inch for inch and pound for pound, who needs boys when there’s leeks around.” Tee hee!! The leeks I bought (to recreate Remy’s soup) were extraordinarily large… Ahem. Okay, I’ll settle down.

I didn’t really want to make leek soup, mostly because I’d just made soup. But I did want to make something with a broth, because I thought it would be a handy way to use the trimmings from the leeks. (Why the heck are leeks so expensive around here? Aren’t they supposed to be a humble vegetable?) So I decided to make a risotto. And I decided to add tarragon and lots of parsley, because I’ve been in the mood for parsley lately, with its fresh green springlike flavor. And then I decided to top the risotto with toasted pecans, because all that creamy rice can use a flavorful crunch.

The broth is fairly important in a risotto, I think you’ll find. I generally make a broth with shallot, garlic, tomato paste, carrots, mushrooms, marmite, tamari, a handful of french lentils and whatever green thing I have around the house. I thought I’d like to make this a little simpler and brighter, though. So I used leek trimmings, a few sprigs of parsley, some fennel, some garlic, some frozen lettuce (darn my veg drawers!) and a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste. Turned out very nice! You can use what you have though. Even an already-made one, if you like the flavor.

It’s gotta be She’s Losing It from Belle and Sebastian.

2 T butter
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (or, if you like, arboreal rice – you know, the kind that lives in trees)
About 6 cups of veg broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 cups leeks (trimmed, cleaned and cut into 1/2 X 1/4 inch curls)
1 cup chopped parsley, loosley packed
1 T fresh tarragon
salt & pepper
1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
3/4 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella (Optional, or any other cheese would do)

Keep the broth simmering on the stove.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the butter. Add the leeks and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, till the leeks are bright and soft. Add the rice. Stir to coat with butter, and cook for 3-5 minutes, till the rice is toasted and the leeks are starting to brown.

Add the wine. Stir, and cook for a few minutes till it’s reduced and syrupy.

Add on cup broth. Stir it in well. Cook till it’s gone. (Another 3-5 mintues) Reduce heat to medium low, and keep adding broth 1/2 cup at at time, stirring fairly constantly. When the broth is reduced, add more. I added about 5 cups before the rice was done. Which took about 1/2 an hour.

Add the parsley, tarragon, lemon, salt and pepper. Cook to warm through.

I like my risotto a little brothy, so after I’d turned the heat off, I added one more cup of broth.

Serve in shallow bowls with pecans and cheese (if you like it!) to sprinkle on top.

One thought on “Leek & tarragon risotto with pecans

  1. Pingback: Roasted red pepper & pecan sauce | Out of the Ordinary

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