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.