Almond leek risotto in a wide, wide-edged bowl with a glass of Niner Chardonnay beside it.

Almond, Leek And ‘whatever’ Risotto


  • 1 cup almonds, whole + peeled
  • 4 cups water
  • pinch of sea salt
  • a few green tops from the leeks
  • option­al: 1 strip kombu/​seaweed

Light­ly toast the almonds in a 325F degree oven until gold­en and fra­grant, around 10 min­utes. Stir halfway through. Add toast­ed almonds and the rest of the ingre­di­ents to a sauce­pot. Bring to a boil and sim­mer at a lazy bub­ble for 30 min­utes. Remove almonds (and the sea­weed, if you used). Once they’ve cooled, rough­ly chop the almonds and set the almond broth aside.


  • 1 cup almonds from above, rough­ly chopped
  • 1 leek, halved and thin­ly sliced
  • 2 gar­lic cloves, minced/​microplaned
  • sea salt
  • nin­er estate olive oil
  • a cou­ple knobs of nice but­ter
  • 1 cup arbo­rio rice
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine or ver­mouth
  • reserved almond broth from above (a lit­tle over 3 cups)
  • ​‘what­ev­er’ left­over pulled chick­en, baby shrimps, sweet peas, smoked white fish, roast­ed broccoli/​cauliflower, but­ter cab­bage, chopped seaweed/​wakame, etc.

lemon zest

grat­ed parme­san (option­al)

a pot with some sur­face area

a wood­en spoon

Bring the reserved almond broth to a sim­mer, add a pinch of salt and hold warm. Heat a wide-bot­tom pan (we want sur­face area here) over medi­um heat. Add olive oil, a knob of but­ter, leeks and a pinch of sea salt. Sweat the leeks until the cor­ners start to turn col­or (about half cooked). Add gar­lic and almonds and toast until fra­grant. Add rice and stir to coat in the fat and toast for 2 – 3 min­utes. Pour the wine/​vermouth into the pan to deglaze it, stir­ring to incorporate.

Once wine is evap­o­rat­ed and absorbed, add a third of the hot almond broth and a pinch of salt. Cook, while stir­ring peri­od­i­cal­ly, until the rice is almost dry. Repeat 2 more times, reserv­ing a lit­tle broth on the third time. This process should take about 20 min­utes in total.

As the third round of broth is cook­ing, taste and check for rice done­ness. Fold in your ​‘what­ev­er’ to allow it to heat up over the last 3 – 5 min­utes of cook­ing. Fin­ish with grat­ed lemon zest, a few drops of lemon juice, a knob of but­ter and salt (if need­ed). Top with a few pars­ley leaves, fried leek tops and/​or parmesan.