Asparagus and Leeks Risotto Posted by: | April 27, 2010

I’ve always wanted to make Risotto, but only recently I managed to find Arborio rice (which is also commonly known as “Risotto rice”) at a specialty shop. I decided to make it yesterday night, which happened to be one of the hottest days. There I was standing in front of a steaming pot for over half an hour, stirring and sweating. Risotto is not difficult to make, but you have to be incredibly patient as you need to be constantly stirring and adding stock little by little to the rice, for at least 30 minutes. If you leave the pot even for a few minutes, there’s a high chance that you’ll end up with burnt risotto. Not the best way to consume your overpriced Italian rice grains. It was a true test of patience and perseverance when next to my risotto pot, there was another steaming pot of stock which I needed to let simmer throughout. I’m just glad I didn’t sweat into my food this time.

For my first Risotto attempt, I decided to follow a fairly simple recipe by Jamie Oliver in my Jamie Oliver “20 Minute Meals” iPhone app. I’m obsessed with my iPhone. So naturally, iphone + Cooking app = Awesome. I already have apps from Mark Bittman, Jamie Oliver, Epicurious, and All Recipes. And I always find browsing recipe apps the best way to come up with last minute dinner menu while you are still at work. Plus, I love the shopping list functions. Ok enough gadget talk. I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding leeks and leaving out the pesto (not because I don’t like the taste, but simply because, to my horror, I had run out of pesto). Luckily the dish still turned out very tasty thanks to the stock, vegetables and parmesan cheese. Plus, it was the best way to finish up my Chardonnay leftovers from Matt & Marie’s dinner.

Asparagus and Leeks Risotto (adapted from “Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meals” iPhone app)

INGREDIENTS (serves 2):

  • 1 medium bunch asparagus (I used the thin ones from Thailand simply because I prefer their crunchy texture)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 stick Leek (chop only the white and pale green parts)
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 100ml white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper
  • 50g Parmesan cheese


1. Finely chop the onion and thinly slice the leek. Place a a large saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s hot, add 1 knob of butter with the onion and leeks, a splash of olive oil, and a splash of water. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes on low heat.

2. Bring another saucepan with the stock to boil, then simmer it at low heat. Cut the woody bases off the asparagus and add to the stock. Slice the remaining tender stalks up to the tip then leave the tip whole (Is there any other vegetable prettier than asparagus? I don’t think so).

3. Finely grate the parmesan. Once your onion and leeks are very soft, add the rice to the pan. Stir & fry the rice for a minute until translucent, then add wine and keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Still on medium-low heat, add a ladleful of hot stock while avoiding the asparagus stalks (you’re not supposed to eat them, they’re only there for flavour). Stir constantly and continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, waiting for the rice to soak it all up before adding the next ladle. Continue to do so until you have used 2/3 of the stock.

4. Once 2/3 of your stock has been added, stir the sliced asparagus and tips into the rice. Keep adding stock until the rice is cooked and the risotto has a oozy consistancy. Take the risotto pan off the heat and stir in the remaining knob of butter and half the parmesan. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze in some juice.

5. Taste the risotto and season with salt & pepper. Cover pan with a lid. Serve with grated parmesan on top.

Basically that was a nice meal and the constant stirring is sort of zen-ish and a good way to switch off after work. However, don’t make it on a hot day unless you plan on getting a steam bath :P


2 Responses to “Asparagus and Leeks Risotto”

  1. Brownie Monster says:

    If you think finding Arborio rice is difficult, try finding Bomba or Calasparra for paella in Singapore. Anyway, I’m not a big fan of risotto but that looks nice.

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