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This meal won't ask much from you. A minimal amount of ingredients, with a little time on the stove, transform into two satisfying, comforting dishes -- just what you need after a long day. Spring isn't often associated with comfort food, but these dishes can be described as just that. With the emphasis on humble ingredients, like celery and leeks, you'll quickly be reminded that simple can be wonderful.
4 to 5 cups vegetable stock
3 small leeks
1 lemon, for juice
1 cup carnaroli (or arborio or other risotto) rice
1 cup white wine
1 pound mixed mushrooms
8 stalks celery
1 1/4 cups parmesan cheese, shaved
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
Chives, for garnish
We're assuming that you already have olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper on hand. If not, you'll be needing those things, too!
1. Place stock in a pot, and bring to a low simmer. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, and cook shallots for 2 minutes. Add leeks, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Lastly, add rice, and toast for a couple of minutes.
2. Add your wine to the rice mixture, simmer until absorbed, and then add salt. Add stock, one ladleful at a time, allowing liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Stir often. Repeat with remaining stock, stopping once rice grains are al dente.
3. While risotto is cooking, begin the salad (but remember to stir the rice often). Sauté the mushrooms in a separate skillet for 5 minutes. Season, and let cool. Whip the cream you'll be adding to the risotto.
4. Once the rice is done, turn off the heat, add butter, cheese, and cream. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl, then toss all salad ingredients together. Serve the risotto, garnished with chives, and the celery salad in a bowl alongside. Enjoy!
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