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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The Great Soup Chronicles

Over the past 10 weeks or so (not including Christmas) I’ve been on a little bit of a soup cooking mission.  This was fueled by a couple of things:

  • I hate sandwiches and I needed something to eat at work.
  • The lack of plates, cutlery, toaster, cooker or kettle at work makes it pretty difficult to create anything very imaginative to eat for lunch.  Despite our lack of most kitchen appliances, we do have a microwave – so heating up a tupperware full of soup is perfect.
  • I wanted to eat something light and healthy at lunch.
  • A friend at work started bringing homemade carrot soup… so I decided to copy her. (Ha! So THERE’S the real reason, I’m a total copycat.)

So! I dug out our neglected food processor, got onto Pinterest and got to work.  However I’d soon pinned so many different delicious looking recipes that I was excited to try them ALL and since then I’ve refused to make the same soup twice.  Unfortunately I wasn’t blogging when I started making them so I don’t have my own pictures, so you’ll just have to suffice with the (far more beautiful) pictures from the original recipes.

1) Spiced carrot and lentil soup

Spiced carrot & lentil soup

The soup that started the craze! The soup of all soups! This is the recipe that my friend at work first pointed me towards, she swears by it.  And it is pretty good, simple and yet delicious! I think when I made it I threw in a couple of parsnips and a bit of greek yoghurt too, yum.

2) Creamy broccoli and cheese

I’ll be honest, I have a real weak spot for cheese.  I have a terrible guilty secret to share. When I go to the fridge, I often like to bite into the block of cheddar, Alex gets pretty annoyed at all the bite marks, it’s really disgusting.  This soup didn’t really fall under ‘healthy’ it did however give me my cheese fix for the day. Delicious!

3) Tomato cheddar soup

Tomato Cheddar Soup with Garlic Cheese Toasts

Yeah.. more cheese (don’t worry there are actually some healthier recipes coming!)  In this instance I was actually lacking cheddar when I made this soup but I had some feta that needed using up so I used feta instead. As much as I love cheese the feta was pretty overpowering and maybe a little too much (I still ate the entire batch though).

4) Silky butternut squash and cauliflower

I love butternut squash! This soup was healthy and delicious too (I’d actually forgotten about this one until just now, must resist the temptation to make this one again!)

5) Leek and potato soup

Usually this is one of my favourite soups, but this (dead simple!) recipe didn’t quite hit the spot.  I don’t know whether it was the recipe or the potatoes that I used, but the soup seemed a bit sticky and starch.

6) Curried parsnip soup

I’m not usually a massive fan of parnsips, but I have to say they make a pretty mean soup.  The only mistake I made was putting too much curry powder in, plus a whole chilli with seeds.. The burn was a little too much for a work lunch break, I was sweating all over.

7) Squash, stilton and sage soup

Squash, Stilton & sage soup

This was the point in my life where I discovered just how much I HATE stilton. I couldn’t even smell this soup without gagging.  Alex however like stilton and reported back to me that it was delicious (soup disaster number one).

8) Curried butternut squash

I’ve lost the recipe for this one, sorry!

9) Sweet potato and leek soup

There’s no picture with this one… it doesn’t taste at all how it looks.  It comes out dark green because of the spinach but then only really tastes like sweet potato. Lovely silky smooth, creamy consistency though.

10) Roasted parsnip and apple soup

This was probably my most adventurous soup.  I generally go for quick boil-everything-in-one-pot -then-blend type recipes (I like to drink my soup not chew it!)  So this one took a little longer as you tray roast everything for a bit, then boil it, then blend it.  And the flavours were more unusual too.  I actually enjoyed this soup, but Alex didn’t.  The parnsip and the apple combine is really sweet if you’re used to savoury soups, I loved it the first couple of days, but by days 4 and 5 I was well and truly over it (too much of a good thing and all that!)

11) Spicy vegan black bean soup

I’m sure this recipe is delicious, but at the moment I have 5 portions of it sat in my fridge waiting to be binned. Do not… I repeat DO NOT try to substitute black beans for kidney beans and black-eyed beans.. just don’t do it! And don’t blend it too much either.  The result looks like excrement.  I just couldn’t bring myself to take my embarrassing and un-appetising soups to work for fear of putting everyone else off their lunch, aren’t I considerate… ok, so mostly I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it.