Champagne and Leek Risotto

11:30 am on 10 April 2012

I love the idea of champagne risotto. It seems rather decadent and also fun, which it is, plus it tastes very good. You do not have to use the very best French champagne but you do taste it, so use a sparkling wine that you would happily drink. It seems such an obvious fit to put salmon with this risotto, but you don’t have to. It is lovely with just the leek and the Parmesan, or a little pan-fried prosciutto folded through at the end is good too.

(Serves 4-6)

Pipi - the cookbook, recipes by Alexandra Tylee and photography by Brian Culy
Published by Random House

Champagne and Leek RisottoIngredients

  • 50g butter
  • 1 dessertspoon olive oil
  • 500g leeks, tough outer leaves discarded, cut into ½cm slices
  • 500g Arborio rice
  • 1 litre bubbly
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 50g butter
  • 500g hot smoked salmon
  • small bunch dill, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • white pepper
  • handful of spinach
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan


Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy frying pan on medium heat, add the leek and slowly cook until soft, 35–40 minutes.

Then add the rice, stirring until it is opaque, about 3 minutes. Now pour in 250ml of the bubbly and let it cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat the stock and 500ml of the bubbly in a saucepan and keep it simmering away.

Now add the warm liquid to the rice a cup at a time and keep stirring. When all the liquid has been absorbed, add the last 250ml of bubbly. When this is almost absorbed the risotto should be cooked, 15–20 minutes. You want the rice to have a wee bite with some liquid remaining in the risotto, it shouldn’t be the consistency of porridge. Now melt in the second measure of butter and fold through the salmon and the dill if using. Season with salt and pepper.

Fold the spinach through the risotto and serve it with the Parmesan sprinkled on top. Without the salmon, this is also good as a side dish with any baked or pan-fried fish.

Stephen Morris’s wine recommendation

The wine you've been cooking with would be ideal. Or a mid-weight chardonnay - not too heavy, not too light.
2008 Forrest Estate Chardonnay - 50% has been in a mixture of new and old oak barrels, which gives it a very attractive slightly smoky note on the nose. The palate has good creamed corn weight too.
2008 Seresin Chardonnay - peaches and cream, but smart oak adds a savoury element. Great length.

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