Spring has arrived, trees are blossoming all around, and then it’s almost time for asparagus. Roasted asparagus, asparagus salad, and -of course! – asparagus risotto. But we’re not entirely there yet. When I checked last week, our supermarket only had asparagus on offer with serious mileage attached. So I decided to wait until local green asparagus becomes available – which is like anytime now – and to cook a leek risotto instead, which, in fact, as far as I’m concerned, is every bit(e) as good and is, with its hint of lemon and thyme, equally capable of conveying a decent sense of spring.
Lemon, thyme, leek and peas make a pretty good combo, and it’s a child-friendly one on top of that. I remember that as a tiny one-year-old, my son would amaze me each time, eating no less than three portions of this risotto. It’s a dish he now, 6 years later, still loves. And so does his sister.
leek-pea risotto with lemon & thyme
- 2 TB olive oil
- 2,5 dl or 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 leeks (white parts; don’t discard the green parts: chop finely, wash thoroughly, and freeze for later use in e.g. soup)
- 0,8 dl or 1/3 white wine
- 6-7 dl (or 2,5 cups) vegetable stock (adjust the quantity to your need)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt (or more)
- 0,5 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1,8 dl or 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 TB lemon juice (I usually have some lemons at hand in the freezer – next to fresh ones -, and you can just grate frozen lemon too, both the zest and the fruit itself)
- 3 TB nutritional yeast, also called nooch amongst vegans 🙂 (make sure to use a decent brand, as taste varies greatly from brand to brand, and whereas some types are really awesome, others may be downright disgusting (at least according to my experience). I like the nooch from Vitam, but totally avoid the Rapunzel brand, for instance, which ironically is most widely available where I live.)
- Heat the oil and add the arborio rice. Stir until the rice is translucent.
- Add the wine, and when the wine has evaporated, move over to the leeks and some of the stock (not all of the stock, as you’ll be adding it in batches), as well as the garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper.
- Stir until all liquid has been absorbed, then add some more. Repeat this process until all stock has been used, or until the rice has softened completely. Mind that the rice should not become mushy, but should still have some bite. If the rice needs more liquid, then add some more water, until the risotto has reached the consistency you’re looking for.
- Bring to taste with lemon juice (or grated lemon, see ingredients), nutritional yeast, and perhaps more salt and pepper if you like. If you’re a fan of vegan parmezan (I am not ashamed to admit that I am!), you can of course cover your risotto with a decent layer of grated vegan parmezan. But if you’re not, or if you can’t get your hands on some where you live, then never mind: this risotto will do what it promises without the parm just as well :-).