Mushroom, Leek and Spinach Risotto

There’s nothing quite like the beginning of fall.

All those dishes that were too hearty, too heavy, too rich for summer are finally back on the market. My first autumnal foray? One of the most delicious dishes around – Risotto.

Risotto is a rice dish that originated from northern Italy. What differentiates it from more traditional styles is the method of cooking. Instead of steaming in a pot, stock is added in small amounts and cooked uncovered. The result is a more flavorful, creamier, richer dish that is filling – and a perfect fit for the chilly evenings that have arrived in Seattle.

Pairing risotto with well-seared, earthy mushrooms, rustic leeks and hearty spinach, this recipe epitomizes the spirit of fall. The addition of a bit of white wine in place of chicken stock towards the end provides a little bite – a nice counterpoint – to the richness of the other ingredients.

This dish pairs perfectly with a wide variety of entrees, a nice white wine, and nearly any fall/winter seasonal beer. Serve it and fall into the bliss of autumn!

Mushroom, Leek and Spinach Risotto

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 mushrooms, cut into 1/8 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 packed cup of spinach, lightly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat a pan to medium-high. Be sure to allow the pan to heat fully before proceeding. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and melt evenly in the pan. Just as the butter begins to brown, add the mushrooms to the pan. Toss every minute for two minutes, add the remaining butter, and continue to toss every minute until the mushrooms are seared on either side, approximately 5 minutes. Set the mushrooms aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil to medium in a large pan or pot. Add the leeks and garlic and saute until partially cooked, between three to five minutes.
  3. Add the rice, toss until evenly coated and allow to toast for five minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Add 1/3 cup of the chicken stock to the pot/pan and stir quickly to ensure the risotto does not burn. As the chicken stock nears complete evaporation, add another 1/3 cup. Continue this process of adding liquid 1/3 cup at a time – switching to white wine when the chicken stock is exhausted – until all the liquid is used up. Remove the pan from heat.
  5. Add the mushrooms and spinach and mix evenly into the risotto. Allow to sit for a few minutes to lightly cook the spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, pack the risotto into a small bowl or cup and overturn onto the plate. To garnish, roll a spinach leaf and slice into thin ribbons; place the ribbons on top of the risotto with a slice of mushroom.

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