Leek and Green Garlic Risotto

With the benefit of hindsight, I can confidently tell you that this is not really the kind of dish that you whip up quickly on a weeknight. In fact, if you don’t turn your attention to dinner until eight p.m., you may be eating close to ten, which is fine if you’re in Madrid but rather late in our household.

Plan this meal for a weekend, then, after you’ve been to the farmers market in the morning and loaded up on springy leeks and green garlic. This risotto is rich and delicate at once, and perfect on its own, but by ten o’clock we were so hungry that we felt the need to gild the lily with a fried egg. You know how I like to do that.

Why did a simple risotto take me so long, you might ask? Well, the only kind of broth I like better than my frozen homemade broth is one custom-made on the spot, extracting every last drop of flavor from the trimmings of the vegetables to be used in the dish. Tonight I started by making a simple stock with the leek tops, garlic tops, and parsley stems that weren’t going into the risotto. I added a bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme, 2 scant tsp. kosher salt, and covered it all with 2 qts. water. It simmered on the back burner while I chopped my vegetables, then I strained it straight from the stock pot into my risotto as it cooked. So that took a few extra minutes.

And then there was the chopping of three enormous leeks and seven little heads of green garlic (the kind where the cloves haven’t formed yet and you just peel off one papery outer layer). And the stopping to inhale their lovely fragrance. And I put the baby back to bed a few times in the middle. So, you know. You’ll be much faster than me. Because once your stock is made and your alliums are chopped, making this risotto is a breeze.

Leek and Green Garlic Risotto: Bring 6 c. vegetable broth (consider making it on the spot; see above) to a simmer in a small pot. Slice a few leeks into thin rounds and finely chop 3 big heads of green garlic. Melt a knob of butter in large pot, stir in the leeks and garlic, then pour in ½ c. white wine and simmer over medium heat until soft.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Meanwhile, melt another knob of butter in another wide pan over medium heat and stir in 1 ½ c. Arborio rice. After a minute, add ½ c. white wine and stir until absorbed, then add 2 c. of your simmering stock. Stir occasionally until the rice absorbs the liquid. Raise the heat and continue adding stock, ½ c. at a time, stirring more frequently now and adding another ½ c. stock each time the previous addition is absorbed. Start checking the rice after about 17 minutes, and turn down the heat when the rice is cooked. Stir in 1 c. grated Parmesan, ½ c. cream or crème fraiche, and ¼ c. chopped parsley. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

This recipe comes from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors cookbook.

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27 thoughts on “Leek and Green Garlic Risotto

  1. StefanGourmet

    I like to ‘personalize’ the vegetable stock with trimmings from the vegetables that will be in the risotto, too! It does help to give it a more distinctive taste. ( It also explains why there were so many leeks in the ingredients photo for my recent post on making your own veg stock, since it was going to be used for the leeks/shallot/truffle risotto.) I’ve done this on a week night and managed it in an hour by chopping the veg very fine and sauteing them to speed up flavor extraction. I hadn’t thought of continuing the extraction while cooking the risotto and straining only what needs to be added, that’s a good idea!

    I’d never heard of green garlic, I’ll have to go look for that here as it sounds interesting.

    At first I thought you were adding quite a lot of cheese and cream at the end, but then I noticed you were using 2 cups rice rather than my usual 2/3 cups.

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I saw how you chop your veggies into tiny bits, I am sorry I didn’t remember that when I was making this recipe! It seems like a great idea. (I hate washing my food processor, though, so I don’t pull it out often.) This recipe does make a huge pan of risotto–you’ll see a post soon on why I like to have the leftovers! :)

      Reply
      1. StefanGourmet

        Don’t you have a dishwasher? My mother doesn’t, and that’s why she’s owned a food processor for 30 years and has used it only like a dozen times…

        There are great Italian recipes for leftover risotto, but I never make them because I never have leftovers. Perhaps I should make some on purpose some time ;-)

    1. emmycooks Post author

      It really is. And I was tasting this as I went along and it was very good even before I added the dairy, in case you’re wondering. :)

      Reply
  2. Allison

    Hi Emmy,
    Just stopping by to say that I’ve nominated you for the ‘One Lovely Blog’ Award! Your blog is truly lovely and inspiring to me. All of your recipes seem so simple yet delicious… so thank you! (For more information about the award, and how to pass it on, please stop by spontaneous tomato.)

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Thank you so much, Allison! That is such a nice compliment. I love your blog and recipes as well so I’m glad to hear that the admiration is mutual!

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I think risottos are more forgiving than people give them credit for. Just don’t let the rice burn, stir occasionally, and you’ll be fine. :)

      Reply
      1. emmycooks Post author

        p.s. have you seen that they NY Times Recipes for Health series is featuring green garlic this week? There are a bunch of recipes I want to try–might inspire you to pick more of your green garlic on purpose. :)

  3. Eileen

    Ha, we practically never have dinner before 8 anyway…which is not so great, now that I think about it. But I think I could handle waiting a little while to eat this beautiful risotto!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I have this dream where our whole family has dinner together at 6:30 before the children go off to bed–sometimes it comes true, sometimes not. Not this time! :)

      Reply
  4. baconbiscuit212

    Looks amazing! And I’m glad we share a fondness for gilding the lily with fried eggs!

    I just ordered some pullet eggs from my CSA that I can’t wait to fry and eat. Have you ever had one?

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Very true, it’s great both ways. And I am using the leftovers for dinner tonight rolled in chard leaves, another of my favorite ways to enjoy risotto. Watch for the recipe later! :)

      Reply
  5. Shira

    So many beautiful, fresh, and tasty green ingredients! It does sound divine though..perfect for a Sunday’s cooking (and lounging) after a Saturday market! Thanks Emmy! :)

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I did enjoy watching half a pot of leeks and garlic cook down into dinner–I like eating those beautiful green things even more than I like looking at them. But I do love both! :)

      Reply
  6. Pingback: The complicatedly easy dish, Risotto! « Real E.

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