Spring Greens Risotto

From Julie Van Rosendaal

2013 May/Jun

A pot of risotto is a simpler dish to make than most people think; once you have the right rice (a short-grained risotto rice like arborio will release its starch into the dish) you’re halfway there. There’s no need to stand at the stove and stir constantly; stirring your risotto often, as you add stock, will help create a creamy texture. A handful of greens added at the end will wilt into the warm rice just before you serve it. If you like, top the risotto with a handful of fresh, peppery arugula for contrast.


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. butter (divided)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
  • 2 c. arborio or other short-grain rice
  • 1/2 c. white wine or water
  • 5-6 c. chicken or vegetable stock, warmed
  • 1/2-1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1-2 handfuls fresh greens, such as spinach, chard, kale or arugula, torn
  • a handful of fresh arugula, for serving (optional)


In a large saucepan, heat the oil and 1 T. butter over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes, until it’s soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the rice and cook for 1-3 minutes, to coat the grains with oil.

If you like, add a splash of white wine and cook the mixture for a minute or two, until it cooks off; then add about a half a cup of stock at a time and cook the rice mixture, stirring occasionally, until the stock is absorbed. When your spoon leaves a trail through the rice without any liquid filling up the space behind it, it’s time to add more stock.

When you’ve used about 5 cups of stock (it should take about 25 minutes), the mixture should be creamy and the rice soft but still slightly firm to the bite. The grains should be soft. If they still have a crunchy core, add a little more stock or water.

Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the lemon juice (and some of its zest, too, if you like), and the greens. Stir the risotto until the greens wilt and the cheese melts. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately. Remember – risotto waits for no one! Serves 4 to 6.