Risotto with tomatoes and leeks (сиреч, домати и праз със ориз)

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As I promised in the original risotto post the possibilities are endless.  The inspiration for this one were two Bulgarian classics – tomato rice (домати с ориз) and leeks rice (праз със ориз).


serves: 4        difficulty: medium      prep time: 40-50 min


Ingredients

  • 3 leeks, the white parts only
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cups of Arborio  or Carnarolli rice (1/3 cup per person as a middle course; may want to bump up to 1/2 cup if served as main course)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 8 quarts chicken stock or vegetable stock, if you want to keep vegetarian
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preparation

Risotto is always a crowd pleaser – great as comfort food for weeknight dinner, and sophisticated enough to impress at your dinner party. This recipe includes a trick that I learned from a Jamie Oliver cookbook that allows to prepare the risotto ahead of time and just finish it in 5 min when ready to serve.

Cut only the white parts of the leeks.

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Slice each leek in half lengthwise.  Then slice in half in half again – i.e. you quarter the leek lengthwise. Carefully wash the leeks – they tends to gather a lot of dirt inside as they grow.

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Mince the leeks. 

Heat a saute pan, and then place 1/4 cup olive oil in it. When the oil start shimmering, add the minced leeks.

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Saute the leeks until they start caramelizing – about 7 min.

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Then add the tomato sauce to the leeks, stir and remove from the heat. 

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Now you are ready to start the risotto.  Peel the onion and mince it finely.  Apparently the standard at French Laundry for mincing onion for risotto is for each shred of onion to be as small or smaller than a grain of rice.

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Keep it at boiling temperature throughout the cooking process. Heat a medium saucepan, and add 1/4 cup olive oil.  Place the minced onions in the pan, and  sweat them until you can’t smell the raw onion flavor anymore.

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Add the rice and stir. Sauté the rice and the onions for two minutes being careful to not brown. Add the white wine and cook until almost all of it has evaporated and the mixture is dry. Once the wine is cooked out and you do not smell the alcohol any further add the first ladle of stock .

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Continue lightly stirring with a wooden spoon until you have added a total of 7 ladles of stock. Then add the tomato-leek mixture, and stir well, turn off the heat, and let the risotto cool off. 

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When you taste it, it should be still quite al dente.  Season with 1 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed. Stir it every 2 min two more times. Now the risotto is almost ready, and it will take 5 min to finish before serving.

When ready to finish,  grate 2 cups of Pargmigiano Reggiano and whip the cream to medium peaks.

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Reheat the risotto and the remaining stock. Add 2 more ladles of heated stock to the risotto and stir.  Next add the whipped cream and stir until it is fully incorporated.  Taste for preliminary seasoning.  Add 3/4 of the the grated Parmigiano.. When you spoon the risotto on a plate it should spread for three seconds and then stop and hold its form. 

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Garnish the each plate with the remaining Parmiggiano. 

Set the table 

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And you are ready for a feast

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