Risotto with roasted Romanesco broccoli, leeks & Old Winchester cheese.


As the nights draw closer my thoughts turn to homely comfort food.  Returning from a long day it is sometimes tempting to rustle up something in a hurry for supper.  Risotto is definitely a ‘slow’ dish but I am sure if you take the time to make this recipe, it will help you unwind and relax.  Reap the benefits of preparing a meal from scratch that tastes delicious but also allows you the time to contemplate whilst steadily stirring beside the warmth of your stove.

Romanesco broccoli is now easily available, not only does it look stunning but it’s very good for us too!  However, if you cannot find it, roasted cauliflower is equally delicious. Please do try to use homemade or very good quality ready made stock.  I promise it will make a world of difference to this dish.

Last November we were very pleased to welcome Anna Del Conte as guest of honour when a group of Slow Food Dorset members joined us for lunch. For the first course we cooked a simple risotto with leeks.  Afterwards we chatted and Anna who kindly shared her tips for making this classic dish.


  • Always use butter to begin the cooking process – if you add olive oil it will coat the rice and not allow the stock to be fully absorbed
  • Carnaroli is the best rice to use for making risotto
  • Make sure that the stock is hot when you add it slowly to the rice, ensuring each ladleful is fully absorbed before you add some more
  • The rice should be al dente and the finished risotto should not be over cooked or ‘pappy’.


Anna also told us that the majority of Italian food is cooked on the hob, because Italians always like to see what is going on – essentially we are nosy people she laughed!


1 litre homemade chicken stock

1 large leek or 2 smaller leeks, washed thoroughly and finely sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

55g unsalted butter – you may need a little more so keep it to hand

200g Carnaroli Arborio risotto rice

1 glass of white wine


To serve

I medium Romanesco broccoli – wash and cut the broccoli into florets, spread on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, add some roughly chopped thyme, season with salt and pepper, place in the  roasting oven  for approx 20 minutes at 180 C until they are tender.

50g Lyburn Old Winchester Cheese – grated

Optional – 2 tbsp double cream.  We are fortunate to have Maple Field Dairy deliver to our doorstep

Season to taste with freshly ground pepper


Begin by roasting the broccoli in the top right oven, meanwhile in a large shallow pan with a lid, sweat your finely sliced leek, in the butter, taking great care it does not burn, when translucent add the garlic, cook for a few moments longer.  Transfer to the simmering oven to continue cooking slowly.

Bring your stock to the boil and transfer to the simmering plate along with the leeks.

Add the rice to the leeks and stir well to coat with the butter, transfer to the boiling plate immediately adding the white wine allowing it to reduce almost completely.  Return to a simmer.

Add a little of the very hot stock and cook gently, stirring until the stock is absorbed.  Continue stirring and adding small amounts of stock to the rice as you do so, take your time and allow at least twenty minutes to cook the rice slowly.  Check your broccoli and transfer to the simmering oven to keep warm.

When your risotto is cooked and most of the stock has been absorbed, remove from the heat add the double cream (if using) and sprinkle the grated Old Winchester over the risotto.  Replace the lid and allow to rest for approximately five minutes.

When you are ready to serve, gently stir the broccoli into the risotto and incorporate the cream and cheese.  Season with black pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg.  Serve on warm plates with some dressed fresh rocket on a side plate to follow.