Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leek and Fava Risotto

I was kind of sick of risotto after this winter. The last time I made it with barley and it was way too starchy and heavy. Then I had risotto at the Big Sur Bakery when I was down there a few weeks ago. It was full of vegetables and it was so light and fresh. It inspired me to make a ‘healthier’ version of risotto without butter or cheese to make it creamy. This coincided with the meal that I had at Tilth (see the blog post about pita bread) so I decided to top the risotto with a poached egg. This worked really well in the absence of butter and cheese and it made the risotto very creamy and flavorful. Poached eggs are easiest when the egg is super fresh. I have read that adding a little white vinegar to the water helps poached eggs come together when they aren’t as fresh.

Leek and Fava Risotto topped with Poached Egg
makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, sliced into half moons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups arborio rice
1 + quarts chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 lb fava beans (about 1 cup of shelled beans)
~4 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced (I used lots of chives, some oregano, parsley, and a little mint)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 fresh eggs

Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan and then reduce it to a simmer. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the sliced leeks. Season with salt and cook until the leeks soften slightly- about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the rice becomes opaque in the middle then pour in the wine.
Once the wine evaporates, start to add the simmering stock, one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Stirring the rice releases the starches which make it creamy which is the whole point of risotto. Continue to add stock and stir until the rice becomes tender- this should take about 30 minutes. Add the fava beans halfway through so that they cook.
Meanwhile, take a short break from the stirring (it’s ok to stop for a few minutes from time to time) and mince the herbs and garlic together to make a persillade. A persillade is technically made with just garlic and parsley but this is still the same idea. Stir the herb and garlic mixture into the risotto to finish it.
Plate the risotto and top each plate with a poached egg. Enjoy!

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