Leek Risotto

By • January 1, 2013 9 Comments

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Author Notes: Leeks are humble. They often anchor a dish, providing flavor and depth, but rarely take center stage. This risotto celebrates leeks, ensuring their subtle flavor in every creamy bite. I don't like to be pushy, but if you really want a restaurant-quality risotto experience, you must add the whipping cream. (I learned this trick from Thomas Keller.) The cream, whipped to soft peaks, will take the risotto's texture and flavor to the next, glorious level. if you're especially daring, some crumbled prosciutto would finish the dish nicely.nicolecooks

Food52 Review: The leek is indeed to be a humble vegetable, but nicolecooks doctors it up with butter, cheese and cream, turning a basic white risotto -- an old standby -- into something worthy of a dinner party. The combination of both shallots and leeks adds a little complexity to the base. And don’t forget to float your chopped leeks in a bowl of water to remove any sand -- it's the best method.minipanda

Serves 4

  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 small leeks, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Minced chives, for garnish
  1. Place the stock on a low simmer in a stockpot and keep a ladle nearby. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep, heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes, until translucent; do not let them brown. Add the leeks and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the leeks have softened. Stir in the rice and toast for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour in the wine and let it simmer until the liquid is absorbed, and continue scraping the pan so that the rice doesn’t stick. Season the rice with salt, then begin adding stock a ladle at a time, stirring often, and allowing most of the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. The rice is cooked once the grains are al dente, fully cooked but with a soft bite on the inside.
  3. Turn off the heat and vigorously beat in the butter and cheese with a wooden spoon to help it emulsify with the rice. If you prefer not to do this on the stove, move the pan to a towel on the counter. Whatever you do, don’t hesitate. Really shake the pan back and forth with one hand while stirring with the other.
  4. Add the whipped cream, then season with salt, only if needed. Continue stirring with abandon until all the ingredients have been incorporated. Serve immediately, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese and chives.

More Great Recipes: Risotto|Rice & Grains|Entrees

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Comments (9) Questions (1)


over 1 year ago robin lewis

what is carnaroli rice? and regarding the "crumbled prosciutto" for a garnish, do you recommend frying it?


almost 2 years ago Flirty Foodie

Granted that "panna" and leeks tend to be a good combo... But in general ...


almost 2 years ago Flirty Foodie

Does anyone know why do so many American recipes for risotto incorporate cream? I've lived in Italy for almost 7 years even married to one... I assure you that almost never happens. But in the USA it's like status quo...


over 1 year ago nicolecooks

I only use cream in risotto occasionally, and don't see it called for in recipes very often. (Most of the time, I use only butter and Parmesan and give it a very vigorous stir at the end.) The first time I learned of using cream in risotto was from Chef Thomas Keller. I think it's far more common to find it used in restaurants vs. home kitchens, though.


over 2 years ago nicolecooks

I'm so glad you all have been enjoying the recipe! It's one of my favorites.


over 2 years ago Foodelf

I made this last night - something of an achievement in itself for a Friday night! I had prepared and washed the leeks the night before as I always seem to have trouble getting them sufficiently dry to saute. The rest of the recipe came together like a dream. I'm thinking of adding a few sauteed mushrooms to the leftovers and perhaps a whisper of truffle salt.


over 2 years ago mlsparks

This is so delicious! I used mascarpone instead of whipped cream because i had it on hand and somehow forgot the whipping cream when I went shopping, either way it was splendid and delicious! Great recipe


over 2 years ago zoemetro uk

I have made this twice in the last week. It was so good for one dinner I had to share it with the next guests. Or maybe I just wanted it for myself again!! Either way, this is a winning recipe and a treat for any table full of good friends. Thank you.


over 2 years ago magproctor

Super delicious -- the whipped cream makes it gloriously...well, creamy, and, while not light in the calorie sense, almost airy.