A simple yet delicious risotto that uses everyday ingredients! Cooked leeks have a lovely mildly sweet flavour and add to the creaminess of the risotto. With a hint of lemon instead of traditional white wine, this vegetarian risotto tastes fresh and light! An addition of a soft poached egg and some tangy parmesan crisps add real decadence to the otherwise simple dish! Read on to see how we make our Creamy Leek Risotto with Poached Egg and Parmesan Crisps!
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Make Risotto When The Fridge Is Looking Empty
Most people I know, have a meal that they make when there’s not much in the fridge to work with. And more often than not, it’s some type of pasta dish with a tomato-based sauce. Here, at Somebody Feed Seb, when the fridge looks bare and there’s really nothing much in the freezer either, we make risottos.
Arborio rice is always there in our cupboard. So are stock cubes. The rest is normally pure improvisation. Some of our favourite creations out of pure necessity to eat when there’s not much food left are:
- Frozen Garden Pea Risotto: We make a simple risotto base from rice, stock, onion and garlic. Then puree some peas, and stir in some whole peas as well.
- Tomato risotto: we make it with tinned tomatoes, stock and lots of herbs from the garden and a good grating of cheese on top.
- When courgettes are aplenty in the garden, we make this courgette risotto here. It doesn’t require many ingredients and tastes great!
This leek risotto without wine was first made out of necessity too. We had some leeks ready to harvest in the garden and some eggs and parmesan in the fridge. Et voilà! We had dinner! So simple, very inexpensive, but certainly tastes great and can be made extremely impressive with the addition of perfectly poached eggs and parmesan crisps!
Ingredients and Substitutes
This easy risotto recipe lends itself well to many substitutions. Here’re our suggestions for ingredients to use and replacements for them.
- oil: any odourless oil, suitable for frying will do: vegetable, rapeseed, avocado or sunflower oil works well. Alternatively, you can fry the onions in butter.
- leek: is the star of the show in this vegetarian risotto, so in our opinion, it is not substitutable.
- shallot: can be replaced with a small brown or white onion.
- garlic: can be replaced with ready-made garlic paste.
- risotto rice: we recommend Arborio or Carnaroli. Read more about risotto rice in the sections below.
- lemon: we will use zest and juice, so choose fresh unwaxed lemons. Lemon juice adds a little extra tang so that you can make a beautiful risotto without wine.
- vegetable stock: chicken stock works well in this leek risotto recipe too.
- cream cheese: adds extra creaminess to the rice, however, you can substitute it with creme fraiche or sour cream, or omit it altogether.
- eggs: keep the eggs soft!
- a splash of vinegar: cider, white wine or malt vinegar.
- parmesan: optional and only needed if you’re making parmesan crisps. If you don’t have any parmesan, you can use Cheddar, like in this Cheddar Crisp Recipe.
Tips For The Creamiest Risotto
- Rice for Risotto: Risotto rice needs to be short, starchy and able to withstand long cooking time. Some of the widely available varieties are Arborio and Carnaroli rice (and out of the two, we prefer Carnaroli). Both types of rice are perfect for slow long cooking, letting the rice infuse with all the flavours of stock without losing their shape.
- Toast the Rice: toasting the rice in a pan before adding any stock is an important step in any risotto preparation. The process seals the surface of the rice, helping it preserve its shape and retain the typical al dente texture.
- Keep the Stock Hot: Put your stock in a pan and keep it on low heat. This ensures an even cooking temperature. If your stock cools down, it will prolong the cooking time and your rice may become soggy in the process.
- Add Stock Little By Little: Not adding all the stock at the same time allows the rice to release its starch at a slow rate, making the risotto creamy. Another advantage of adding the stock gradually is being able to control how much of the stock is actually needed before the rice is cooked.
STEP 1: Make Leek Risotto
Start by trimming, washing and thinly slicing your leeks. Then, chop the garlic cloves and shallots finely. Zest half of the lemon (you will use the juice later too). Boil a kettle and make the stock. Keep it warm on low heat.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Add leeks, shallots and garlic and fry for 4 minutes. Add the rice, stir and cook for another minute or two until the rice is starting to turn translucent. Squeeze in half a lemon.
One ladle at a time, start adding the stock and stir until all the stock is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and keep on cooking until you have no stock left or until your rice is cooked al dente. Take the risotto off the heat, stir in a tbsp of cream cheese and cover with a lid.
STEP 2: Make Parmesan Crisps
In the meantime, prepare parmesan crisps. Heat a dry frying pan. Place generous teaspoons of finely grated parmesan in small piles, then spread them into a thin layer. Keep on frying on low heat until the crisps firm up. Carefully flip them over and fry for another minute to brown.
STEP 3: Poach Eggs & Serve
Poach two eggs in boiling water with a splash of vinegar. If in doubt, here’s an article on How to Poach a Perfect Egg?
Divide your leek risotto between bowls. Sprinkle the lemon zest. Top your risotto with a poached egg and a couple of parmesan crisps.
What To Serve Risotto With?
Since this leek risotto with poached egg is rather filling, we recommend a light side dish to go with it. A salad or a small piece of bread will be a perfect accompaniment:
- Raw Courgette Ribbon Salad with Honey & Earl Grey Dressing
- Fried Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon (Garlic Broccolini)
- A slice of Sourdough Bread
What Else Can I Do With Leftover Leeks?
We absolutely love cooking with leeks and have plenty of recipes for you to try if you have more leeks to use up. Some of our favourites include:
- Vegetarian Mushroom Tart with Crispy Leeks
- Creamy Halloumi Pie with Leeks and Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Crumble with Leeks and Feta
Other Creamy Risotto Recipes
Hope you enjoyed this easy risotto without wine! If you love risottos as much as we do, have a look at some of our other favourite risotto recipes, including:
- Spinach and Mushroom Risotto with Pecan & Garlic Drizzle (Vegan)
- Sweet Chilli Pepper Risotto
- Blue Cheese Risotto with Sweet Potatoes & Walnuts
Leek Risotto with Poached Egg (Without Wine)
- 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- 1 leek trimmed and sliced thinly
- 1 shallot chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 160 g risotto rice
- ½ lemon zest and juice
- 700 ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- a splash of vinegar
For Parmesan Crisps (Optional):
- 15 g parmesan finely grated
- Boil a kettle and make the stock. Keep it warm on low heat.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Add leeks, shallots and garlic and fry for 4 minutes. Add the rice, stir and cook for another minute or two until the rice is starting to turn translucent. Squeeze in half a lemon.
- One ladle at a time, start adding the stock and stir until all the stock is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and keep on cooking until you have no stock left or until your rice is cooked al dente. Take the risotto off the heat, stir in a tbsp of cream cheese and cover with a lid.
- In the meantime, prepare parmesan crisps. Heat a dry frying pan. Place generous teastpoons of finely grated parmesan in small piles, then spread them into a thin layer. Keep on frying on low heat until the crisps firm up. Carefully flip them over and fry for another minute to brown.
- Poach two eggs in boiling water with a splash of vinegar.
- Divide your leek risotto between bowls. Sprinkle the lemon zest. Top your risotto with a poached egg and a couple of parmesan crisps.