Smoky Leek and Asparagus Risotto Recipe

Risotto is one of those meals that I always thought was WAY top much hassle to start cookin’ up after getting back from work… until recently.  Once I’d got this recipe down to a tee I realised I could have it on the table in about half an hour, it’s actually pretty damn quick to whip up, and absolutely delicious.

I was looking at recipes for vegetarian risottos but none of them excited me that much so I created my own with my favourite ingredients. The ricotta and smoked cheese add a little bit of creamy, cheesy indulgence to a green, veggie risotto.  I used ricotta but this can be substituted for marscapone, sour cream, creme fraiche, or even cream cheese.

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Smoky Leek and Asparagus Risotto – Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 litre of vegetable stock

3 cloves of garlic

1 onion

1 large leek

1 pack/bunch of asparagus (about 12-15 spears)

1 cup of risotto rice

1 tablespoon ricotta

60g of grated smoked applewood cheese

Tablespoon olive oil

Salt/Pepper/Parsley

Rind and juice of half a lemon (optional)

Method:

1) First off, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan as you chop up your onions and leeks.

2) Fry the onions and leeks until soft and starting to go clear.

3) In a separate saucepan bring 1 litre of stock to the boil and then turn down to simmer.

4) Add your minced garlic cloves and risotto rice to the pan with the leeks and onions.  Cook until the very ends of the grains of risotto rice have turned clear.

5) Keeping the pan on the heat, add half a cup of stock and stir until it’s all been absorbed into the rice. Continue doing this half a cup of stock at a time.

6) When you only have a couple of half cups of stock left to add snap the ends off the asparagus spears and chop the asparagus into pieces about 1.5cm big.  Add the asparagus to the pan with the penultimate half cup of stock.  Add the final amount of stock and continue stirring until it’s absorbed.  The risotto should be of a thick, creamy consistency.

7) Take the risotto off the heat.  Season with salt, pepper and parsley.  Stir in a large tablespoonful of ricotta.  Add the juice and rind of half a lemon (optional)

8) Finally, stir through the grated Smoked Applewood cheese and serve.

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May’s Reading List

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Really getting into this reading thing.

I’ve actually had to hold myself back from starting the next book on my list as I find myself disabled from doing anything else once I’ve started reading a new book.  I just can’t bring myself to do anything else with my time until I’ve finished whatever I’m reading.  It’s very bad for productivity!

The latest two books I’ve read read are ‘White Teeth’ by Zadie Smith and ‘A Million Little Pieces’ by James Frey.

1) ‘White Teeth’ by Zadie Smith

In my last book review post I talked about Zadie Smith’s latest novel ‘NW’ and said that it wasn’t really my cup of tea.  A friend persuaded me that her previous work was quite different and lent me her debut novel ‘White Teeth’.  Having not really enjoyed ‘NW’ I did put this book on the back burner for a while, especially as it’s a particularly thick one.  Hearing Zadie Smith name dropped by Lena Dunham in her TV show ‘Girls’ persuaded me that if Lena liked her I should definitely give her another go.  So I got stuck in.

Would I now read another Zadie Smith book? Definitely.  This book totally changed my opinion, I can’t believe this was her debut!  The book follows the lives of two intertwined families from different cultures living in North London.  It begins in 1975 when we see Archie attempt to take his own life.  When he is foiled by a halal butcher who is irritated that he is blocking up his business’ delivery area Archie realises he didn’t actually want to die and sets off on his journey to improve and enjoy his life.

The book follows the intertwined lives of Archie’s family and his best friend Samad’s family. It’s written beautifully and explores themes of cultural identity and faith with an equal mix of humour and poignance.  If you like books with vibrant and thought-provoking characters then ‘White Teeth’ will blow your mind.

2) ‘A Million Little Pieces’ by James Frey

‘A Million Little Pieces’ is excruciatingly painful to read in places… in a good way… I think?!  The ‘story’ starts with the main character, James, waking up on board an aeroplane with his front 4 teeth missing, covered in blood, urine and sick, with no recollection of how he got there.

I say ‘story’ as although the book was published as a memoir there was some outrage when The Smoking Gun uncovered the ‘truth’ behind the book and published an article titled ‘A Million Little Lies: Exposing Frey’s Fiction Addiction‘ which accuses Frey of embellishing details and wholly fabricating parts of the book.  I read into it a little and it’s still unclear to me exactly how much of the book is true and how much is fictional, I think Frey was a little vague!

Whether fact or fiction A Million Little Pieces is an exciting, emotional, and uncomfortable read.  The book begins with Frey coming home in pieces after a drug and alcohol fuelled binge.  Aware that his life has spiralled shockingly out of control and that his body is close to giving up Frey allows his parents to check him into rehab.

The book follows Frey’s difficult and painful journey through rehab.  The language the book is written in is easy to read, and yet the subject matter is far from easy – it’s downright torturous at times!  There were times when I had to pause from reading as I was gritting my teeth and wincing too much.  Whether fact or fiction A Million Little Pieces is one hell of a roller coaster ride and not one for the squeamish or fainthearted.