Eat yo’ greens risotto

I’m a bit ashamed to say that leeks and I have taken a while to hit it off. They’ve been in the same box as silverbeet- the trusty vegetable garden staple that quietly does it thing  in the garden without ever sulking or grumbling- but in the habit of getting overlooked every single time. Then, kapow! Our paths crossed. I really had no place ignoring leeks like that, given my garden is somewhat of a thriving weed circus.  But here we are, we’ve made amends and I am here to sing the leeks praise!


R I S O T T O :

[with leek, fennel, asparagus and peas- and/or whatever other greens your garden/fridge has on offer]


  • 1 leek
  • 1 tablespoon butter/ghee/oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 fennel [for a nice aniseedy kick, but you could add a few cauliflower florets, celery, broccoli or whatever else takes your fancy in it’s place]
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1000 ml / 2.1 pint stock [vegetable or chicken]


  • 1 tablespoon butter/ghee/oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup / 4 fl. oz white wine
  • 1 cup cheddar [I used smoky cheddar]
  • 1 cup frozen peas [or if you have a better garden that I do currently, use fresh ones!]
  • a bunch of asparagus, lightly steamed
  • toasted pinenuts to sprinkle over top [but add in any other nuts you wish]

Melt first measure of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped leek to mix and fry until softened and slightly golden. Add brown sugar. Turn heat down and let the leeks do their thing, until they are looking soft and caramelised. If you have some time to spare, cook the leeks slowly- the longer and gentler you cook them, the better they’ll taste. I had mine cooking for almost an hour- but if you’re in a rush you could have them sorted in 15-20 minutes. Add chopped fennel and garlic to the mix and cook through for a few minutes, followed by stock. Bring this to a simmer and leave until vegetables have softened. Use a whizz stick/blender/food processor to combine ingredients into a puree, then set aside.

In a large frypan or heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add second measure of butter, followed by rice. Cook rice through for a minute or two. Turn heat down slightly. Pour in wine and cook for a few minutes. Then add leek/stock mix to the rice, one cup at a time, stirring until each cup of liquid is absorbed before adding the next. [If you want to semi-prepare this ahead of time, you can pull risotto off the heat and cover once you have added half of the stock mixture.  Then pick back up from where you left off prior to serving, adding the remaining stock- one cup at a time].

Once liquid absorbed and rice is cooked [rice should be firm yet soft] if it’s still hard and crunchy gradually add in some extra liquid until you reach desired consistency. Add in peas and asparagus, followed by cheese. Stir through and serve topped with a few toasted pinenuts.

I mean, who in their right mind could pass up those loveable geeky leeks? Not me. At least, not anymore.




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