Recipe: Leeks and Mushroom Risotto

I had my first risotto at Green Room Cafe about two years ago and fell deeply in love with the creamy savory rice dish. Though the portion does not look like much, risotto can be quite dense and filling. An Italian dish, risotto uses starchy short and rounded rice grains like Arborio which is easily available at specialty supermarkets. However, those on a low gylcemic index diet should stay away from traditional risotto as much of the creaminess comes from the starch that is released while slowly cooking the rice.

Cooking risotto is not that difficult actually. You just need a lot of patience and time to stir in the stock one ladle at a time and to stir it until the rice has absorbed the flavorful liquid. It's a good time to meditate about life or catch up with your friend on the phone or to turn up the volume of the radio to groove to some music. The end results are worth it though as you get to the enjoy soft creamy rice dish that is part porridge like and part rice pudding. For this particular recipe, I kept it simple by using whatever that was available in the fridge. Just some leeks for flavoring and the gorgeousness of mushrooms. You can easily substitute whatever vegetables you have at home. However, if you want the vegetables to remain crunchy and crispy, only add them towards the end when the rice is nearly cooked or if you don't mind cooking your veggies for about a good 1/2 hour, then add it earlier.

Mushroom Leek Risotto 

200g Arborio rice or other starchy short grain rice

1 small onion

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 stem of leeks

200g of your favourite mushrooms (do a comibination of flavourful ones like Shiitake with mild flavoured ones like button)

1 litre of your favourite vegetable stock or water

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon non-dairy margarine (optional)



1) Wash and drain the rice. Set aside. Peel and slice the onion and mince the garlic. Slice the leeks and mushrooms.

​2) In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Once golden, add the garlic and leeks and fry until fragrant and the leeks are wilted a little.

3) Add the rice and fry it in the pan for a minute. Add the mushrooms and a ladle of stock and stir. As the rice gets absorbed, add in one ladle of stock at a time, consistently stirring to release the starch.

4) As you add more water, the rice will slowly expand and absorb more of the stock. Test the rice for doneness. It should be soft throughout without any hard bits.

​5) Add salt and pepper to taste.

​6) When risotto is ready, add a tablespoon of margarine and mix well. Serve hot. 



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