Thursday, 24 February 2011

Roasted leeks and apple risotto

Cooking risotto is usually a field of controversy in our family: I like it smooth and creamy, “all'onda” (transl: “weavy”) and properly cooked, while my husband cooks it thick and with a slight bite. I'll share with you a vegan risotto “all'onda”, using non-dairy cream instead of butter. Roasted leeks and apples make a delicious mix and add a sweet-and-sour taste to this dish. The inspiration came as I was reading food historian Francine Segan's inviting recipe, which I slightly changed to suit to my taste.

P.S. Though the recipe may appear complex and time consuming you may consider roasting the vegetables one or two days in advance (or eat as a side dish for a change!)

Ingredients for the roasted vegetables:

leeks: 2 large – white and tender green parts
apple: 1 small (Red Delicious, Gala or Fuji)
extra virgin olive oil: 2 tablespoons
apple vinegar: 1 tablespoon
honey: 1 and ½ teaspoon
fennel seeds: 3 (optional)
marjoram: 1 pinch of dried marjoram, or 1 teaspoon of fresh herb
salt: 1 to 2 pinches according to taste

Ingredients for risotto (serves 4 to 6):

carnaroli rice: 5 coffee cups (approx 320 gr)
onion: 3 small spring onion (white part only), or half onion, chopped
extra virgin olive oil: 4 tablespoons
apple vinegar: 1 tablespoon
water: ½ glass
vegetable stock: approx. 800 to 1000 ml
non-diary cream: 80 ml (I used oat milk cream)

For garnish:
parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.
Quarter the leeks and slice into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces. Wash and drain. Core the apple and slice it.
Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, honey, marjoram, and fennel seeds (optional) in a medium size bowl until combined.
Mix leeks and apple in a medium oven pan add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring gently about every 10 minutes, until the leeks are golden and the apple is soft. Once the vegetables are ready let them cool down, then finely chop on a chopping board.

Meanwhile heat 2 spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil with half glass of water in a small frying pan, then add the spring onions and sautè for 20 minutes on a very low heat. When the onion has softened remove from heat and reserve.
Heat the vegetable stock. In a large pan heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add the rice, cook several minutes on a medium-high heat: the rice will begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a few minutes it will look slightly translucent and you can add the vinegar (or white wine if you like). Keep stirring, the vinegar (or alcohol) will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty flavour.
Add onion and roasted vegetables to the rice and keep stirring. Then add a ladle or two of vegetable stock and a generous pinch of salt.
Keep adding ladles of stock as soon as the rice absorbs the liquid, and keep stirring!Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft and cooked. If you run out of stock before the rice is ready, add some boiling water. This process will take 15 to 20 minutes according to rice quality.

Remove from heat. Add the cream and stir well. Allow the rice to 'rest' and mantecare ( transl.: become 'creamy') for a few minutes.
Check and adjust seasoning and serve.


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