Leek and Asparagus Risotto

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a main
    • Difficulty


Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

  • About

A risotto is actually quite simple to make. All it requires is good stock, quality rice (arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano), genuine parmesan cheese and about 25 minutes of your time. The asparagus in this recipe can be replaced with most other vegetables. The thing to aim for is a slightly al dente but creamy rice at the end of its cooking.


  • 1.2–1.5 (2–2 ½ pints) litres simmering vegetable stock (simmer asparagus trimmings, garlic skins, carrots, herbs and bay leaves in half water and half dry white wine for 25 minutes)
  • 200 g(6 ½ oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, washed and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 400 g(14 oz) risotto rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 500 g(1 lb) fresh asparagus, trimmed, ends used previously in stock and the rest sliced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus some extra for garnish
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice


It is important that the stock is simmering at all times so keep it on the stove close to the risotto pot. Heat a heavy saucepan and add three-quarters of the butter, the leek, garlic, onion and fennel seeds. Stir gently and sauté until the onions are beginning to turn golden. Add rice, turn heat up to almost full and fry for 1 minute, stirring well. Add salt, pepper and herbs and stir well, then ladle on enough hot stock to cover rice by 1cm/½ in(it will bubble furiously at first). Turn heat to low, stirring again. Once stock has been absorbed add another ladle, stir for a minute and leave again for stock to be absorbed. Keep cooking this way until the rice has cooked a total of 10 minutes.

Now add the sliced asparagus, another ladle of stock, stir well and wait until stock is absorbed again. By now the risotto will almost be done. If you want it al dente it will probably be ready, if you want it cooked more and of a more liquid consistency, then add more stock, stir well and continue cooking. Stir in the parmesan, remaining butter and lemon juice, and check seasoning. Eat piping hot with a little extra parmesan grated on top.