Leeky Lemon Risotto

Aug
1

Risotto is one of those dishes where what you put in, reaps exactly what you get out. Time consuming though it may be in the actual cooking of it, you can cook enough to serve a tableful of hungry souls,(provided you have a pot big enough!). And if you get it right – the silky, oozy, buttery richness will keep you coming back for seconds and thirds.

The humble cauliflower, though often overlooked, is actually a most cooperative vegetable. Roasted, boiled, mashed, pickled and steamed – it embraces most cooking methods, and gets along well with almost any flavour combination, thanks to its modest subtlety. Here, I have paired it with the gracious leek – a vegetable I find has a touch more depth than the onion, but embodies the same rich texture and punchy flavour. Annointed with the golden juice of a lemon and heaps of parmesan cheese, you simply can’t go wrong with this combination!

Serves 6           Takes approx 1.5 – 2 hrs

Ingredients

2 Shallots, finely chopped
3 large Leeks, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3 small Celery sticks, finely chopped
1 head of Cauliflower, broken down into mini heads
2 knobs of Butter
3 tbsp Olive oil
6- 8 handfuls Arborio Rice
1 cup White wine / Vermouth
1.5 liters Boiling Water
30ml Nomu Vegetable Stock
4 handfuls Parmesan cheese, grated/shaved
2 handfuls of Italian Flat-leaf Parsley
Salt & Pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200Cº. Break up the cauliflower heads and scatter over an oiled and seasoned baking tray. Roast until cooked and starting to brown around the edges – approx 20 mins. Boil the kettle, pour 1.5 liters of hot water into a jug, and mix in 30ml of your veg stock concentrate. Set aside.

Whilst the cauliflower is roasting, heat a large deep-dish frying pan on medium. Add 1 of the knobs of butter and the olive oil. Once the butter starts to foam, add in the shallots, leeks, garlic and celery. Gently cook, stirring frequently, so nothing catches. Once softened, add in your risotto rice, and turn the heat up a bit, stirring very fast to make sure all the pieces of rice are coated in the buttery, oily mixture. Cook for a few minutes, then turn the heat up to maximum, pour in your wine/vermouth and stir like mad. Great smells erupt here, as the wine cooks off and a fragrant perfume of wine fills the air.

Once most of the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat down to medium-low and immediately begin adding in your vegetable stock – one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly.  Repeat this process until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is swollen and on testing, al dente to the bite.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Take your roasted cauliflower and stir into the risotto. It will break apart and that’s fine. To this, add in the handfuls of Parmesan cheese and watch it melt away into the mixture, coating everything in a delicious, salty richness. I never season my risotto until the last moment. Now squeeze in the juice of your lemon, grate some of its zest in, and add the chopped parsley. Final touch is to stir in the last knob of butter, crack some pepper over the top and you are ready to dish!

Best served with a basic green salad, crusty bread and Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

Oslo’s Pick:  Thinly slice 4 Free-Range Chicken breasts, and fry on a medium heat with 2 handfuls of Sesame Seeds and the juice of another Lemon. Amalgamate into the risotto, juices and all.

Bon Appetit, Bon Vivant!

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