Asparagus & Leek Risotto (gluten-free!)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIt’s holiday time and I have to admit, I’m on sugary sweet overload! This says a lot coming from me. I have a whole mouthful of sweet teeth and have been known to categorize chocolate as an essential food group.

But this week my tastebuds were craving something savory, hearty, and belly-warming for this cozy holiday weather. I had recently made my Whole Roasted Cauliflower and so I had a mason jar full of the yummy leftover broth I usually reserve to make my Fettuccine with Sweet Peas, Kale and Corn. But this time I felt it was destined for a rich, flavorful risotto.

This dish is incredibly filling yet it still has a lightness to it. The bright green of the asparagus and leeks give it a “winter meets spring” sensibility that is just irresistible. I think this dish would be lovely on your holiday table this week. Or make it for a casual, simple meal the day after your big holiday celebration. I’m imagining curling up on the couch in my slippered feet, cradling a warm bowl of this risotto while I ignore the wrapping paper and dirty dishes laying about. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Here’s what you’ll need to make that dream a reality:

For the broth

  • 2-1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan butter
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups of water

Other ingredients

  • 1 leek, ends trimmed, then cut lengthwise then crosswise
  • 1/2 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed, then chopped into small segments
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare your broth by combining the wine, olive oil, salt, lemon juice, vegan butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf and water in a large soup pot and bringing it to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Over medium heat, melt the other 2 tbsp of butter in a large, deep skillet or saucepan and sauté the leeks and garlic. Add the arborio rice and sauté until the rice takes on a golden hue.

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sautéing the arborio with the garlic and leeks til golden

sautéing the arborio with the garlic and leeks til golden

Begin to add the broth 1 cup at a time, continually allowing it to reduce before adding another cup. Continue this process until the rice is tender and the right flavor is achieved. If you run out of broth before your rice has reached desired tenderness, simply add water one cup at a time, allowing it to reduce before adding another, just as you did with the broth.

When your risotto is ready, gently stir in the agave and season with the black pepper to taste. Finally, add in the sliced asparagus and gently fold it into the risotto, cooking until it too is tender but still has a crunch to it.

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

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Happy eating!