Leek & Cauliflower Risotto

Today I lost my virginity. To leeks (get your mind out of the gutter people, this is a food blog).­ I had been afraid of leeks in the past. They seemed boring to me, like an oversized scallion, but without a smell. I even let one go bad in my fridge this past CSA season while I was figuring out what I was going to do with the darn thing. I hate watching fresh produce die. However there was nothing to do but move on and make a mental note to conquer my fear of leeks pronto. And my fist attempt was quite tasty if I do say so myself.

Leek & Cauliflower Risotto
adapted from Gourmet . serves 4

2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
1 medium head cauliflower (2 lbs), cut into 1” wide florets
3 1/2 c vegetable broth
1 1/2 c water
3 T butter
1 c Arborio rice
3/4 c finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 oz)
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
2 T fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

Wash chopped leeks in a colander to remove dirt. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch leek and cauliflower, 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Bring stock and water to a boil in a small saucepan and keep stock at a simmer. Heat 2 T butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Sauté cauliflower and leek, stirring, 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 c simmering stock. Cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding stock, 1/2 c at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 T butter, cheese and roasted red pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with cilantro.

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