Cheesy Leek Risotto

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Cheesy Leek Risotto

Cheesy Leek Risotto

I’m sorry! I’m sorry that I’m posting yet ANOTHER Risotto recipe. But I just can’t help it. I’m sure you are absolutely sick of me and my Risotto recipes and me gushing over how amazing Risotto is, but unfortunately, I won’t be stopping that behaviour any time soon.

Now, I don’t expect you to make this on a week night during ‘suicide hour’, but I urge you to make Risotto sometime, if you haven’t done it before. There is something so incredibly comforting and soothing about stirring chicken stock into rice and watching it transform fat, hard grains of Riso Arborio into creamy and oozy Risotto.  It’s intensely satisfying and really exciting to witness something go from quite ordinary and bland into something flavorful, rich and delicious. And Risotto, to me, is the ultimate blank canvas in cooking. It can be taken in any direction and if it doesn’t taste good, you have only yourself to blame. You can literally add anything (I’ve even seen recipes for Chocolate Risotto) or omit anything and make it something truly unique. Can you tell I’m excited?

Last night, yet again, I really had a craving for Risotto but I didn’t want something too fussy (like my Chilli Risotto with Crispy Calamari , albeit delicious) but it had to be seriously yummy. My problem was that I did not do menu planning this week so I wasn’t prepared for this deliciousness I was craving. All I had in the fridge was 2 packs of leeks and some mature cheddar. Thank goodness these things go so incredibly well together, because a star was born. Leek Risotto, in itself, is always a winner, but add intensely sharp cheddar to the mix and you have something really special. I added a teaspoon of Sambal Ulek (a chilli paste made with chillies, salt and vinegar) to my Risotto for some kick but you can substitute any hot sauce or fresh chillies or completely leave them out if you don’t like spicy food.

Cheesy Leek Risotto

Serves 8

8 large leeks, trimmed, rinsed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg Arborio rice
300ml dry white wine
2l chicken stock (you might not need all of it)
2 bay leaves
1tsp paprika
1tsp chilli paste/fresh chillies (optional)
1tsp dijon mustard
2-3 cups grated mature cheddar
salt & pepper to taste

  • In a large pot/pan,  fry the leeks in the butter until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or two.
  • Add the rice and stir, coating the rice with the oil. Add the wine and allow to reduce. Add the bay leaves, paprika, chilli paste and dijon mustard.
  • Now, add the stock ladle by ladle. Stirring in between and allowing the rice to absorb the stock. The rice shouldn’t be completely dry before you add more, it should always be moist. Take care not to stir too much as you don’t want it to go stodgy.
  • When the rice is cooked to your liking, after approximately 30-45 minutes, add the cheese and stir through. The rice should be pleasant to eat but not mushy.
  • Season to taste and serve.

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Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
Showing 12 comments
  • Adele
    Reply

    Stirring risotto is absolutely therapeutic, I love it. I also love your “suicide Hour”! I’m taking a couple of minutes break from mine as we speak.

    • Ally_R
      Reply

      Adele, I hope you get through your ‘suicide hour’ without too much drama! :)

  • S. Lynn
    Reply

    Stirring risotto may be therapeutic, but can conflict with time schedules. I found a great recipe where you bake the risotto 350 degrees for 45 min to 1 hour. I’m going to have to try this recipe with those baking directions and see if it works.

    • Ally_R
      Reply

      S.Lynn : I agree with you 100%. I do baked risotto quite often and I have 2 recipes for it on my blog because I love it so much. It’s just never AS creamy as the stirred variety.

  • Kasey
    Reply

    Mmm, I am a huge fan of leeks, but have never made leek risotto. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Ally_R
      Reply

      Kasey : Only a pleasure. Let me know what you think.

  • Jovana
    Reply

    I am in Serbia now and it has been a pretty heavy transition. Thus the quietness. However – even though the food here is to die for… they have the poorest selection of cheeses I have ever seen in my life.

    They don’t even SELL cheddar cheese! =( I miss the homey, gooey, nommy flavour of cheddar. Ahhhh!!!

    Fantastic recipe – maybe I can try it with feta?

    • Ally_R
      Reply

      Jovana: I was wondering where you’d disappeared to. Was afraid I didn’t give you enough ‘cheese action’ :) Wow, Serbia? I’m sure the transition has been hard…geez!!

      I’m sure this would be fab with Feta but it won’t be exactly the same of course. Can’t you get other cheese like Pecorino/Parmesan/Gouda there? Shall I send you a few kg’s of Cheddar? 😉

  • Jo
    Reply

    Just a query on the rice quantity in this recipe – 1kg seems a lot of rice to serve 6 people. Tx, Jo

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Jo, it works out to around 160g p/p and for a main, I don’t think that’s too much but having said that, my family and I are all big risotto fans so we eat a lot of it. 😉 You can easily use less rice and just adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • Christina Stone
    Reply

    So did the recipe really say 1kg of rice? I mean I made a pot that would feed a soccer team. What am I suppose to do with all that food? Not to mention there were no directions on how long to cook it. I went to another website and cooked it 30 minutes and had complaints that it wasn’t done. You say its our fault if it doesn’t turn out like we should know ourselves what to do, but you gave no directions on this, so I had no idea how early to start it to get it done for family dinner time. I didn’t know it takes forever to cook this kind of rice. If your blog is for trained cooks then there should be a disclaimer.

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Christina, I am so sorry you had an unpleasant experience with this risotto. This was one of my very first recipes and I was a bit inexperienced at writing recipes so I omitted a lot of information. As you see, I’ve updated it to include the amount of time it should take to cook risotto. Please keep in mind though that this is just a guideline and that you should go by your own preference as to how you like your rice cooked. It also depends on how hot your stove is, etc. Also, the recipe does state that it feeds 8 and this is for a main portion. As a rule of thumb, I usually cater for around 500g for 4 people so you can very easily halve this recipe if it suits you better.

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