Sunday, June 3, 2012

Leek and Pumpkin Risotto with Candied Macadamias

I don't know if it was desperation or what, but I finally figured out how to crack into those organic macadamias I bought at the farmers' market - oh - 4 months ago. Let me just say it involved 2 paving stones and was immensely gratifying. 

Macadamias {a Queensland native} are just about the hardest nuts to crack, and there's not a chance your everyday standard nut cracker's going to work. But paving stones? Bricks? Yep. Simply place the maccas on top of a flat paver and crush with another paver. Watch your fingers, and occasional flying nuts. Great fun!

Once I got into the nuts, and had eaten a few too many raw ones, I candied them to put on a simple leek and pumpkin risotto. 


And yes, PUMPKIN RISOTTO. Making me the worst kind of hypocrite - but hey, have you ever seen a pumpkin risotto with candied macadamias? Me, neither. And I tell you what - it's amazing. Really, really yum.

And my way? Very, very easy. I must prefice this by saying that I'm a lazy risotto maker. I get the Zen of standing at the stove stirring {or as Jamie Oliver says - massaging} stock into rice ... but in everyday stovetop life I like to minimise commitment. So this is not a traditional risotto, but is probably one you're more likely to make if you have a 4 year old racing around the dining room living room kitchen laundry deck.

I encourage you to accept your limitations {as I have} and make risotto the Lazy way.
Plus then we're kind of in a club together. Welcome!
Amanda xx

Candied Macadamias

The time
5 min prep + 15 min baking

The ingredients
1 1/2 cups de-shelled raw macadamias
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs raw sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

The process
1. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, spread them across the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for ~15 minutes, stirring occassionally so they don't all stick together or burn. Cool and EAT. Or sprinkle on risotto (recipe below).

NOTE: Try not to eat too many at this stage or you might not be able to stomach them on the risotto ...

The cost
I got a huge bag of macadamias at the market for $10, but maybe you're lucky and have a tree! {If so, can we be friends?} Made with organic ingredients, this cost me $2-$3. And I didn't use all of them on the risotto.

Lazy Leek and Pumpkin Risotto
serves 3-4

The time
10 min prep + 15 min cooking

The ingredients
2 baby leeks*, the white parts only** washed and sliced
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cups arborio rice
3 cups boiling water {or stock}
1 cup chopped, peeled, roasted butternut squash {aka pumpkin; about 1/4 of one}
4 Tbs butter
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to taste

+ 1/2 - 1 cup candied macadamias, to taste

*or one regular adult leek
**save the green parts in the fridge for your next batch of veggie stock!

Try to use organic when you can.

The process
1. If you haven't already roasted the chopped pumpkin, do so now. Just toss in a dash of olive oil and roast at 200C (400F) till soft and even slightly charred.

2. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, saute the leeks in the 2 Tbs olive oil until they're soft. Add the uncooked rice and saute a further 2 minutes or so, till the rice starts to become translucent looking. Add the boiling water, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer ~12 minutes, until the water's absorbed and the rice is soft.

3. Remove from heat and add the pumpkin, butter and salt and stir though. I kind of squished my pumpkin a bit - it tends to get eaten better by my child when she can't pick it out. Serve in bowls or on a plate, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper and candied macadamias and alongside a salad or lightly-steamed green veggie.

The cost
Organic arborio can be pricey, so if you find it on special then stock up. Otherwise, you can substitute regular white rice if you want. I estimate this cost me ~$2 a serve, done organically {and not including the macadamias}.


Libby said... [Reply to comment]

My mother and I love making organic pumpkin soups for winter but I reckon it would be good to try something different with the pumpkins. This recipe sounds perfect - thanks for sharing!

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Libby, I reckon you could CRUSH the candied maccas and sprinkle them across your soup, too! Yum! PS the name of your blog is the awesomest ever :) Axx

Lucie D'Alessandro said... [Reply to comment]

You're so right, Amanda, risotto is SO zen! Thinking back to my first time making it - Friday evening, early Spring, playing Stevie Ray Vaughn, slooowly stirring. Has been one of my fave meals ever since. I was also diagnosed it with breast cancer at 31, and have looked to beautiful, whole, organic foods to heal with as well, so am loving your recipes. Looking forward to discovering more on your blog, Lucie x

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic said... [Reply to comment]

@Lucie D'Alessandro Lucie, thank you! Your own story is inspirational, and I wish you the best for your own health and happiness :) xx

Deborah said... [Reply to comment]

oh my gosh, that looks so delicious! i can't wait to try this recipe!

-Deborah, said... [Reply to comment]

Gorgeous looking food. Hoorah! Great to find you here. Looking forward to reading more. Happiness, lee (

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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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