Fresh spring leeks shine in this simple spring leek risotto. So easy to make in either your pressure cooker or instant pot - creamy risotto on the table in about 10 minutes' time.
How to Make Fresh Spring Leek Risotto
Spring is in the air, so to speak. It's standard spring day here, cloudy, grey, and cold. But the Farmer's market is getting in some good springtime produce, and leeks are one of my favorites.
Totally underutilized IMHO.
Spring Leek Risotto is one of my 7-minute risottos, made in the pressure cooker; or instant pot, but you can make it in the traditional add and stir way. (To find out how here is the basic and traditional recipe for Risotto Milanese.) Any way you make it, it's good.
Ingredients for Spring Leek Risotto
- Risotto Rice - Most common is Arborio. You can also use Vialone Nano or Carnaroli (which is considered the "caviar" of risotto rices.
- Leeks - cleaned and sliced
- White vermouth or dry white wine
- Chicken Stock
- Grated Parm cheese
What are Leeks and how to best use them
Are Leeks the same as green onions?
Although from the same family as onion, shallots, and garlic, the leek has a similar history but its own distinctive flavor. While it’s similar-looking to a green onion, it is much larger and cigar-shaped, with tiny hairs for roots rather than a bulb.
Being as it is from the onion family, leeks hold many of the same health benefits as other allium vegetables. Their unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, these vegetables belong in your diet on a regular basis. There's research evidence for including at least one serving of an allium vegetable in your meal plan every day.
Health benefits include lowering blood pressure, relieving chronic inflammation of the joints, protecting against type2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even have shown to help with allergies.
And they taste good too!
Biblical accounts illustrate how desirable leeks were even then: the children of Israel thought seriously about returning to Egypt, the land of their captivity, just to taste them again.
Since the main portion of a leek is underground, they do get a lot of dirt in their layers. The best way to clean a leek is to slice it in half lengthwise, and then run it under cold water until all the dirt is gone.
Store leeks, unwashed in a zip-top bag (unzipped) in the crisper section of your refrigerator. Clean before using.
If you have a lot of leeks that can’t be stored in a refrigerator, you can freeze them. First, you need to cut off the dark green leaves, the root and slice the leek in half. Next, thoroughly wash the leeks and then cut them into half-moon-shaped slices.
I recommend you blanch the leek prior to freezing. Place in lightly salted boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute- then plunge into an ice bath. Blanching before freezing ensures the leeks do not lose their green color. For best results allow them to dry before freezing or place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag.
No, you can make it in the traditional method such as used in my recipe for Risotto Milanese or use the oven method as I used in my recipe for Black Pepper Risotto.
If you do use one of those methods you will need to adjust your liquid from 2 cups to 6 cups.
Why this recipe works
Using the leeks in two ways gives this Spring Leek Risotto, both the mellow leeks flavor in the rice, but also the rich leek flavor in the caramelized version to finish the dish. This final addition tastes so rich - it's the umami in your mouth.
Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker
Instant pots are all the rage right now, and all it really is is an electric, pre-timed, pressure cooker (or slow cooker). I like mine OK but still, prefer to make my risotto in my pressure cooker. But one will work as well, or as quickly, as the other.
Just get one that is fairly heavy-bottomed.
I have friends, and colleagues, that insist you cannot make a proper risotto in a pressure cooker, as it's the constant stirring that breaks down the starch to make risotto creamy.
My risotto is creamy. And here's why - when you remove the lid, there is still a lot of broth in the pot, and that's when you will stir like crazy for a few minutes, stirring until the broth is gone, then, as the rice will continue to absorb more broth, adding some as needed to keep the risotto loose. I like mine fairly loose, so I always add a touch more broth right before I serve it.
So grab yourself some healthy leeks, a cup or so of arborio rice, and whip up some Spring Leek Risotto. An easy, seasonal, side. Great with grilled meats, chicken, fish or try it with my Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks! That's a match made in, well, in the Kitchen of LindySez.
How to Make Spring Leek Risotto
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sliced leeks divided
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ⅓ cup white vermouth or white wine I prefer vermouth as it is always the same flavor, no need to worry about fruit and oak and other variables
- 2 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Make sure the leeks are clean of any dirt. Slice in half laterally, then into thin slices.
- Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat; add 1 cup of the leek and rice and sauté for about 5 minutes; add the vermouth (or wine) and stir until evaporated. Add all of the broth, cover and bring to pressure; lower the heat, stabilize the pressure and cook for 7 minutes.
- While the risotto is cooking, heat a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together, then add the remaining cup of sliced leeks. Cook, stirring often until lightly browned.
- When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and quick release the pressure, remove the lid. Stir in the caramelized leeks, cheese, along with salt and pepper to taste. If the risotto seems too dry, add a bit more broth.