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Vegetable risotto with leeks, made at the tuscany manner

(Risotto tutto vegetale co' porri, alla toscana)

  • A) For the sauce:
    6 medium leeks, tender and cut in pieces

    a mixture composed by:
    one medium onion
    2 courgettes
    2 celery ribs
    one meat stock cube
    25 grams of butter
    4-5 spoons of olive oil
    one spoon of tomato purée diluted in one big spoon of hot water
    salt and pepper
  • B) For the broth:
    25 grams of butter
    a vegetable stock cube
    a pinch of dried basil
    a small bunch of parsley
    a mashed garlic clove
  • 200 grams of rice
  • 25 grams of butter
  • 50 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
Take a blender and put all the ingredients mentioned at point A) together with a big spoon of hot water. Mix this stuff very well in order to have a sort of purée, pour it in a small saucepan and boil it over a brisky heat, continuously turning it, and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Then add the pieces of leeks and cook for 6-7 minutes more, add also the diluted tomato purée; salt and pepper, cook for 20 minutes more, over a low heat, with a lid and turning sometimes. In the meanwhile prepare the broth by putting all the ingredients indicated at point B) in a small pot, together with one litre of cold water and boil them slowly, with a lid, for 15 minutes. Switch off the heat and let it cool down. Then take it once again and put it in the blender together with the herbs and mix it until you have an aromatic broth, that you will keep warm in order to use it to cook the rice. At this time the sauce of leeks will be cooked, so that you have to put the rice directly in this sauce, turn and mix it, add some broth and cook it for 5-6 minutes over a medium-brisky heat, continuously turning it. When the rice will start to get too thick, add some more broth, but keep this stuff quite thick because the rice, by dry-cooking, will toast taking a more characteristic and marked taste. This situation for about 7-8 minutes, then add some more broth and let the stuff become more liquid, even if it should be a bit sound; cook for 4-5 minutes more. At this time add some more broth. Taste and if necessary add some more salt and pepper, then serve it very hot with a butter flake and abundant Parmisan cheese.
This kind of risotto represents the summaries of two traditional Florentine recipes, based on leeks, and which have given origin to some "legends" *Petroni, 1974*: in fact it seems that they were a sort of pizza and a sort of purée. We are more interested in leek as a vegetable, because very often it is not very considered, while it is excellent and extremely "kind"!, especially after its cooking, so that it becomes light and tasty. For the most intransigent vegetarian people we suggest to replace the meat stock cube with a boletus stock cube and the butter with margarine.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati


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