A Risotto with roasted Leeks and Carrots, Ramiro Peppers plus a simple salad with Purslane
April 16, 2010
I was going to make soup with the carrots and leeks I got yesterday. Roast them up first to really get the flavours nice and sweet then maybe some chilli and coconut milk but then Margaret suggested using the roasted veggies for a risotto and I about-turned (am I that suggestible?) and made that instead. I didn’t regret it. After all the roasting then cooking with the rice and stock ,the leek just melted away adding lots of flavour to the dish while the carrots were beautifully caramelized and almost treacley. To offset the sweetness and give the dish some tang I added goat’s cheese. Remember that roast chicken I made during the snow? Well, I still had a batch of stock from it in the freezer and this really pulled the whole thing together. I didn’t quite have enough so I topped it up with Marigold. I didn’t add the usual glass of white to things but it certainly wouldn’t be out of place – just be sure you do it early on and turn up the heat for a minute to burn off the alcohol. As always I say – don’t be afraid of risotto. It’s not the work everyone goes on about. Yes, you do have to stir the stock as you add it in but not every single minute. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to pour yourself a glass of wine……….
Caramelized Leek and Carrot Risotto with Goat’s Cheese (for 2)
200gr Risotto rice – I usually use Arborio
750ml stock – chicken or veg
75gr Hard Goat’s Cheese grated
A little Parmesan freshly grated
First of all prepare the veg for roasting. Trim down the leeks so you are left with the white bottoms and a little of the pale green. Cut these into lengths about 2 inches long then halve them. Peel the carrots, again cut them into 2 inch lengths then quarter each one. Place in an oiled roasting tin, sprinkle with a little fine salt, drizzle with a little olive oil, cover with tinfoil then roast at Gas Mark 5. Give them a turn after about half an hour then after another half hour uncover and roast for a further 20 minutes . Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down a bit then chop up the leeks removing any hard or papery outside layers. Dice the carrots and set aside separately (these go in later).
Heat a generous knob of butter on the pan, add the leeks and saute for about 2 minutes. While the leeks are starting ,heat up the stock in a pot so it’s ready to go. Add the rice to the leeks and cook for a couple of minutes stirring well so each grain gets coated in the butter and olive oil from the leeks. Now you are ready to start adding the stock. Make sure the pan is on a medium heat. Too hot and all the stock will vanish without actually doing its job which is to cook the rice. Too slow and it will sit there for ages and take forever to absorb. You want to keep things moving but not so fast you can’t turn away from the pan for a moment. Ok, so start with a cup, stir it in and as it disappears add another and so on. After a few cups of stock you can throw in the carrots. Continue on until the rice is cooked i.e. al dente but not hard. There should still be some liquid so turn off the heat even if things are a bit runny. The heat from the rice means that liquid will continue to evaporate and you should be left with a dish that is creamy but not runny. Plus bear in mind that the cheese will take some of the liquid. Stir that in, reserving the Parmesan for the table, along with lots of freshly ground black pepper and a little more salt if you think it needs it. Italians would add a ton of butter at this stage but I don’t think you have to. Before serving allow the risotto to sit for about 2 minutes then eat from warm plates if possible.
We’ve got some of those amazing Ramiro Peppers this week. These guys are made for roasting and really take on a lovely smoky flavour.I’ll be eating mine in burrito or maybe as a salad with just a splash of red wine vinegar.
In case you were wondering……….
The leaves I have this week are called Purslane which is basically……… a weed but an extremely nutritious one. It’s got more Omega 3 than any other greens. Try it in a salad with some roasted ramiro pepper, a handful of toasted pinenuts and maybe some Parmesan shavings. Well, that’s tomorrow’s lunch sorted then..