My husband will tell you I am the most anxious when faced with an empty fridge. Let me go grocery shopping, fill it up, and make a meal plan, and I suddenly feel like I can do life. So the week before classes started, I changed my meal plan from a weekly meal plan based off the groceries I bought to a running categorical list based off the ingredients I already had on hand: 1. Meals I could throw together in about 10 minutes; 2. Meals I could make within 10-20 minutes; 3. Ready to go frozen meals; 4. Meals I could cook if I had some extra time and fresh ingredients. I filled up a whole white board with my color-coded meal list, and suddenly felt like I could take on grad school.
Risotto is one of those meals that is homey and filling and warm and doesn’t take too long to pull together on one of those “extra time” days. Add some fresh veggies, and your meal is set.
LEEK AND ASPARAGUS RISOTTO
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced, or grated with a medium ribbon grater
- 1 asparagus bundle, trimmed and cut in thirds
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted sesame seeds, as garnish
- 1 cup grated Parmesan or Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese (or nutritional yeast flakes)
- 6-8 cups vegetable stock
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil, and saute the leeks with salt and pepper to taste on medium heat. When the leeks are translucent, add the garlic and rice and saute 5-10 more minutes and lower the heat to low.
- Add 2-3 cups of vegetable stock, until the rice is just covered, and 1/4 cup of the parsley. Allow to come to a boil, and let cook and reduce until nearly all the stock has reduced. Add another 1-2 cups of stock and let cook and reduce. Continue adding stock, one cup at a time, and reducing, until the rice has transformed into a creamy soft mixture, about 30-40 minutes. When you add the final cup of stock, add the asparagus to gently cook. Let the stock reduce just enough to be a thin, pudding-like mixture.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese or nutritional yeast flakes. To serve, garnish with the rest of the parsley and the sesame seeds.