Recipe: Leek & Blue Cheese Risotto

I’ve probably said this before, but I’m firmly of the belief that risotto is the perfect comfort food. Creamy, though not overly heavy, cheesy (but not greasy), and it can be loaded full of nourishing ingredients. When I’m feeling under the weather, need cheering up or just generally want some comfort food, it’s risotto that I turn to.

This recipe is perhaps a bit more indulgent than the risottos I tend to cook, with less emphasis on the vegetables, more cheese and a healthy dose of wine. Whilst I don’t tend to use wine in my risottos (why cook with it when you can drink it?!) I do find it pretty necessary in this one to add an extra note of background flavour. It intensifies the sweetness of the leeks, tempering the harshness of the blue cheese. And if you’ve opened a bottle to cook with, it would be rude not the finish it, right…?

#Recipe (generously serves 2)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh thyme, leaves only (around a tbsp)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 175ml white wine (roughly 2/3 of my large wine glass)
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • A knob of butter
  • 100g blue cheese
  • 25g parmesan
  • 25g walnuts, roughly chopped

Gently fry the onion, celery and garlic in the oil for around 5 minutes until softened but not brown. Add the rice to the onions and stir for a couple of minutes until the grains are slightly translucent.

Increase the heat and add the wine, stirring until it is all evaporated. Then add the stock a ladelful at a time, again stirring until absorbed before adding more. Repeat until the rice looks creamy and tastes cooked – I find it takes 20 minutes but it varies depending on the type and brand of risotto rice.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, gently fry the leeks and thyme in the butter. Add to the risotto when it is cooked with plenty of black pepper then crumble in the parmesan and most of the blue cheese. Cover, take off the heat, leave for 2-3 minutes, then serve sprinkled with the remaining blue cheese and some chopped walnuts.

Perfect for a cosy Friday-night in, or indeed a meat-free Monday meal! I also like it with some crisp bacon on top, although admittedly this adds to the washing up…

Are you a risotto fan? What’s your go-to comfort food?