Champagne Risotto with Leeks and Celery

Monday December 28, 2009

Poster for France Champagne 1891, Pierre Bonnard/Copyright © 2001 National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

The slow cooker, surprisingly, excels at making risotto. Now you can make risotto for a crowd without the long time standing and stirring at the stove and still get perfect risotto. While the risotto doesn’t need stirring for the extended cook time, there is a new model Rival that incorporates an automatic stir feature, with a paddle attachment, built right into the lid. While you can use any champagne or sparkling wine, such as Prosecco, it can be fresh from the bottle or leftover flat dregs. I heat the champagne first to burn off a bit of the alcohol. This is has a good proportion of wine, so the flavor will be marked. If you want your risotto to look pristine, be sure to use white pepper. The combination of leeks and celery is divine. Scoop a small amount on your dinner plate or shallow bowl, then ladle a stew on the side. This was adapted for the slow cooker from a recipe I saw by Nigella Lawson, British food writer and personality.

Overview

Cooker: Medium or Large Round

Machine Setting and Cook Time: High Heat: 2 to 2 1/2 hours

Serves 3 to 4

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided use
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • 1 medium leek, white only, washed well, and finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 1/4 cups brut champagne, simmered 5 minutes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving if you like

Instructions

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter.  Cook the celery and leek until soft, 3 to 4 minutes; do not brown.  Add the rice and cook 1 minute, stirring, until glossy.  Scrape with a heatproof rubber spatula into the crock of a medium or large slow cooker.  Add the hot champagne and broth.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until all the liquid is absorbed, but rice is still moist. Add the remaining butter, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Stir to incorporate. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately. Risotto will keep on KEEP WARM setting for an hour or so.  Serve hot.


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