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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Baking to beat the January blues

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Lemon and poppy seed muffins.

(Recipe via Two peas and their pod)

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Caramel-filled chocolate chip cookies (The recipe suggests using Rolos, I used squares of Galaxy caramel)

(Recipe via Sally’ baking addiction)

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Irish soda bread

(Recipe via Cafe Johnsonia)

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My kitchen companion and this blog’s namesake – Darwin! 🙂

Hello February, January is finally behind us.  January is always a pretty quiet one for me.  I’m usually still paying off Christmas and being so broke is the perfect excuse for holing up at home in front of the fire and developing an unquenchable thirst for tea.

This January I refused to admit that December’s gluttony was truly over by beating my January blues with plenty of freshly baked things to eat.  Hey, it’s freshly made so it can’t be all that bad for you! (That’s how it works right?)

If Darwin’s in a good mood he likes to follow me into whichever room I go to and keep me company (he’ll even come and lay at my feet on the bathroom floor when I’m having a toilet break).  His new favourite spot this January has been the dining room chairs when they’re pushed under the table (not sure how he jumps up there without hitting his head on the underside of the table).  The first time he decided to take a nap under there it took forever to find him… the little imp!