I always thought risotto was beyond my capabilities with all that adding a ladleful at a time business but I have found that I quite enjoy making it these days, especially if I just want something that isn't too complicated and something that can be made relatively quickly. Its usually one of those go to meals that if I know we've got a busy day, I get all the ingredients ready in advance and when I'm ready I can cook relatively quickly. By quickly I mean it's one of those meals I can make whilst enjoying a glass of wine, cooks perks of course and usually by the time I have consumed the wine the risotto is ready and yes there is usually a second glass to go with it. It is also one of those meals that lends itself to be eaten al fresco if the weather allows and when we can finally have friends and family over again its one that doesn't keep you away from your guests for too long.
8oz trimmed leeks
2 ribs of celery chopped
1 cup of frozen pees
2 tbsp of olive oil
3 garlic cloves crushed
6 tbsp of butter
1 large onion diced
2 cups of Arborio rice
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
2/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup of freshly chopped chives and parsley
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Slice the leeks lengthwise and roughly chop. Wipe the mushrooms to remove any soil and roughly chop.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic for 1 minute. Add the leeks, mushrooms and celery and plenty of seasoning and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the frozen peas and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Add 2 tbsp of the butter and cook the onion over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add a ladleful of stock to the pan and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
5. Stir in more liquid as each ladleful is absorbed; this should take 20-25 minutes. The risotto will turn thick and creamy; the rice should be tender but not sticky.
6. Just before serving stir in the leeks, mushrooms, celery and remaining butter, grated lemon zest and juice, half the parmesan cheese and the herbs.
7. Adjust the seasoning and serve, sprinkled with the remaining parmesan and herbs. Serve with lemon wedges.
Now the big kids have all but flown there is invariably leftovers and this risotto lends itself to freezing or if you have access to a microwave at your place of work you could take it and heat it up for your lunch.