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Leek and Pea Risotto

from Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking by Mary McCartney
Leek and Pea Risotto

3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium leeks, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups risotto rice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or parsley, chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 quart hot vegetable stock, plus more stock or boiled water, if needed
1 1/3 cups frozen or fresh shelled peas, or chopped green beans
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Serves 6

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Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking by Mary McCartney


This silky, creamy risotto looks so good with the subtle green of the leeks and peas, and it has a wonderfully smooth texture. You can play around with the vegetables you use, for instance, substituting 6 shallots for the leeks.

Melt the oil and butter together in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the chopped leeks, onion and celery and then saute gently for about 15 minutes, to allow the leeks and onions to sweat and become translucent, but not brown. Add the rice and garlic and mix well, coating the rice in the oil, and cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes, to allow the rice to heat through, but not brown. Now stir in the herbs and the white wine (if using).

Add a couple ladlefuls of the hot stock (about 3/4 cup), enough to cover the rice. Stir well, and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until the stock is nearly absorbed, but do not let the rice cook too quickly. Gradually add more stock and keep stirring, until all of it has been absorbed; do not allow the risotto to dry out, you want a thick, soupy consistency. Stir in the peas halfway through cooking the rice, after about 7 minutes. After about 15 minutes the rice should be cooked through but still al dente. If you run out of stock and the rice is not cooked yet, then use some extra stock or hot water to finish off—but be careful not to let it overcook and become soggy or sticky.

Season with black pepper; taste the rice and add salt, if needed. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Mix well and let stand for 1 or 2 minutes. Then serve immediately, with extra Parmesan cheese and black pepper sprinkled over the top.

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