Almond, Leek and ‘Whatever’ risotto
Recipe for the home cook as follows:
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
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.
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.