Leek, Asparagus and Chard Risotto

Risotto is simple to make, and the constant stirring can be a meditative and relaxing task if you aren’t in a hurry.  Sauteing the leeks until they are caramelized takes a little while, but provides a flavorful basis for the cooking broth.

Combine 4 C. vegetable or other broth with 2 C. of water and bring to a boil, then keep at a simmer.

“Snap” 1 bunch of asparagus, cut the tips off and keep them separate.  (You can add the tough bottom pieces to the pot of broth.) Dice the asparagus into small pieces, cutting any pieces that are bigger around than your middle finger in halves.

Wash 1 bunch of Chard. Cut off the stems and chop them finely.  Chop the leaves roughly.

Clean and chop 1 Large or 2 medium leeks in half rounds.  Heat 3 T. olive oil or butter in a heavy bottom pot and add the leeks and lower the heat.  Saute on low heat, stirring frequently, until the leeks are nicely browned.  Season heavily with salt and pepper plus any herbs you like:  thyme, rosemary, hot pepper flakes, etc.

Raise the heat to medium and add 1 1/4 C. arborio rice, then and stir to combine with the leeks.

Add 1 C. white wine to the pot and stir it in.  It will mostly boil off.  Immediately add 1 C. of the simmering broth and stir into the rice.  Lower the heat all the way.  Once the liquid is absorbed, continue adding 1/2 C. broth at a time and stirring the risotto.

When the rice begins to thicken and becomes soupy, add the asparagus and the chard stems.  Continue to add broth and stir the risotto.

When the risotto is tender, add the chard leaves and the asparagus tips along with 1/2 C. parmesan, cheddar or Gruyere cheese.  Stir to combine well and continue to cook until the chard is tender — about minutes.  You should not need to add any more liquid, you may have some left over.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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