Monday, 28 March 2011


The clocks have gone forward one hour, its officially spring! Sunshine, blossoms on the trees and seedlings potted and germinating on the windowsill. Today we took the opportunity to start preparing the gardens, turning the soil, raking the dead leaves and fertilising the soil (organically of course). 

We actually wanted to clear out the beds and there were a few stoic leek, broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprout plants that had survived the winter and were sprouting tender greens, quite enough to eat for dinner so what to make?

Leek, tomato and Tender greens risotto.

The tomato and an onion were not from the garden, but we had them in the fridge and they made perfect additions to our risotto. 


2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 leek, chopped
A couple of handfuls of greens, roughly chopped
1 cup aborio rice
1 tbsp cream cheese (could use cream or yoghurt)
2 cups stock
2 tbsp tomato juice or 1 tbsp paste
Splash of white wine
Grated parmesan 
Salt and pepper 


  1. Fry onions and leeks in butter and oil until translucent and soft
  2. Add rice and fry for a minute with onions 
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, and enough wine and stock to just cover rice
  4. Simmer for 12 minutes topping up with stock whenever it get too thick 
  5. Throw in tender green and simmer for another 3-5 minutes until rice is cooked
  6. Just before serving add cream cheese, small knob of butter and parmesan cheese 
  7. Season to taste. Drizzle with olive oil to serve. 
Pull the nice leaves and shoots off the tender greens, we used the broccoli flowers as well, they have a lovely purple colour which contrasts well with the greens and generally looks nice in your risotto.
Clean them gently then set aside.  You don’t want to put the leafy greens in until right near the end to retain their freshness, taste and colour. 

Dice the onion, chop the leek. Soften them in butter over a gentle heat until they go translucent. You don’t want them to brown, just soften. This makes a good base for any kind of risotto or sauce.

Add the rice so it soaks up some of the butter and oil. After a minute or so add the tomatoes and simmer for a minute

Add the tomato juice and stock to just cover the rice. If you have white wine a generous splash of that too. We used some tomato juice which we had left over, you could use tomato paste as well, to give it a bit of colour and more tomatoe-iness.

The rice should take about 12-15 minutes to cook usually. Add more stock whenever it reduces down and gets too sticky. Add the roughly chopped tender greens about 2 or 3 minutes before its ready. 

This was entirely improvisational but we put some Philadelphia cream cheese in at the end.  The cream goes well with the greens and makes the risotto thicker and creamier. You could use cream or plain yoghurt as well. 

Turn off the heat and stir in a handful of grated Parmesan, and season well. Taste and make sure everything’s coming together.

Finally add a small knob of butter to give it glossiness.

Serve and garnish with more parmesan and left over greens.


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