3.18.14 Cremini Mushroom and Leek Risotto
I don’t want to jinx anything by speaking too soon, but I think spring might actually be on its way. At least it’s beginning to seem that way. The snow is melting, the birds are singing, and one tiny little daffodil is courageously sprouting in my back flower bed. Not to mention, that with daylight savings time in place, it’s still light at 7:00 pm. Amazing!
And so, with spring (finally) beginning to show itself, I feel like some almost-spring cooking is in order. It’s still too early for asparagus and ramps, but leeks, fresh mushrooms, scallions and lemon? Well, after eating so many winter greens and root vegetables, that seems mighty springy to me. And what better way to prepare said early springiness than in a lovely, creamy risotto?
To me, risotto seems to a the perfect early spring food. It’s hearty enough to still be satisfying in cool weather, but feels bright and fresh with the addition of early spring veggies. And of course, copious amounts of parmesan cheese are always a plus in my book. Not to mention, all things considered, risotto is pretty easy to make. It just takes a little patience, some stirring, and before too long, you’ll have transformed your humble rice into one creamy, cheesy, delicious risotto. It’s wonderful simply topped with some shaved parmesan, finely chopped scallions and accompanied by a glass of white wine. Or if you’re feeling really crazy, top it with a poached egg (it’s fantastic). So don’t worry. Spring is coming. And until it gets here, you can feast on risotto.
Cremini Mushroom and Leek Risotto
serves about 6
- ½ Tbsp butter
- 1 leek chopped, light green and white parts only
- ½ cup thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ⅛ tsp saffron
- 12 oz arborio or other short grain rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, heated to near-boiling
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (green part only)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the leeks, mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until leeks are soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the rice and saffron and stir, continuing to cook until rice is well mixed with the vegetables appears slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the wine, and continue cooking until wine is absorbed, about 4-5 minutes.
4. Add 1 cup of stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until stock is completely absorbed. Repeat this process, adding 1 cup of stock at a time, until all 4 cups have been incorporated. This whole process should take about 20-25 minutes.
5. Remove risotto from heat and stir in the scallions, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.