Risotto with Leeks and Sugar Snap Peas

Mar 06, 2012

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A couple of weekends ago a good friend of mine had us over for dinner, and while I was in the kitchen with her sipping a glass of wine while she put the finishing touches on our meal (one of my favorite pastimes as such wonderful conversations always seem to materialize), she shared with me a cookbook that I was eager to have on hand in my own kitchen.

Weeknight Fresh and Fast (Williams-Sonoma) is full of crisp, beautiful images of each of the meals from a company name that is known for pleasuring our taste buds and organized by seasons as to help the reader shop for ingredients that are fresh, yet create delicious and healthy meals. From the general concept right down to the details of how it is organized, I was very impressed and wanted to share my find with you.

Knowing that any meal I’ve ever shared at my friend Nancy’s home has always been full of flavor, yet balanced and healthy, I was not surprised to discover the very first recipe I tried out of this cookbook that she suggested was wonderful.

Below is my version of Risotto with Leeks and Sugar Snaps

  • 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. sugar snap peas, strings removed (buy pre-packaged and you don’t have to worry about removing the strings)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 oz. pancetta, minced
  • 2 leeks, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (used what you would want to drink)
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • OPTIONAL – 1 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon (I preferred mine without, but if you prefer the anise (licorice) flavor, you will appreciate the depth it adds to the dish.)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Coarse kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1. In a saucepan over high heat, bring the broth to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sugar snap peas to a bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat to low.

2. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until opaque, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir until absorbed. Add about 3/4 cup of the hot broth; adjust the heat so the liquid bubbles and is absorbed slowly. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the liquid about 3/4 cup at a time and stirring frequently, until the rice is just tender but slightly firm in the center and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the sugar snap peas, cheese, tarragon and a generous amount of pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

{IDEA from WILLIAMS-SOMONA website} Quick tips: Turn any leftovers into risotto cakes: For 3 to 4 cups of risotto, mix in 1 egg yolk and 1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs). Using wet hands, form the mixture into 2-inch balls, then flatten into rounds 3/4 inch thick. Dip the cakes into beaten egg and coat with more panko, then brown in olive oil, about 4 minutes per side.

{My version}

{Williams-Sonoma’s version}


5 thoughts on “Risotto with Leeks and Sugar Snap Peas

  1. I have this cookbook and love it! It’s loaded with delicious recipes that are easy to make, & don’t take too long to make either. I would highly recommend it!

    That risotto looks scrumptious!!

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