Spring pea, leek and spinach risotto is light, creamy and full of bright flavors, including fresh lemon zest, savory sauteed leeks, tender spinach and sweet peas.
Spring Spinach Risotto
May I introduce you to my favorite spring dinner recipe yet. A decadently creamy and bright spinach risotto featuring some of the spring seasons best ingredients.
Classic risotto begins with savory sauteed leeks and deglazed with a splash of dry white wine. As soon as the arborio rice begins to tenderize, sweet spinach, peas and lemon zest are gently stirred in, creating a lovely light and flavorful spring risotto.
The beautiful thing about risotto is that it is quite inexpensive yet showcases spectacular flavors.
Use whatever is in season, such as sweet spring pees for this creamy leek risotto or make butternut squash risotto in the fall.
Texture of Risotto
Perfect risotto should “all’onda” in Italian or “flowing with a wave”.
Risotto should never be too “gummy” or thick, but when poured onto the plate, should flow nicely and spread evenly.
To achieve that glorious creamy texture, have more simmering stock then you’ll think you will need. As the risotto slows down cooking at the very end, I like to finish with one last ladle of warmed stock to reach that creamy texture.
Spring Pea Risotto Ingredients
- Low sodium or homemade vegetable stock
- Arborio rice
- Fresh spinach
- Lemon zest and juice
- White wine- Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
- Butter and Olive oil
- Parmesan Cheese
Best Wine for Risotto
Whenever I get asked about wine, I also like to ask what the person likes to drink, because ultimately, you will be reducing the flavor of wine into the recipe.
For this light spring spinach risotto, my preference is a dry white wine, such as a Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio or even a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, to mimic the citrus notes from the lemon.
How to Make Spring Leek and Spinach Risotto
1) In a large and wide pan, saute onion and garlic and leeks until soft but not brown on medium heat. When done add rice and toss to coat.
2) While onions and leeks are cooking, have stock simmering in a pot.
3) Pour wine into risotto and stir until absorbed. Next, use a ladle to add stock to the rice. 1-2 ladlefuls at a time until rice absorbs all the liquid. Continue to do this for about 20-22 minutes.
(*Note: Use your spoon to stir rice. If there is little liquid left in the pan, that’s when you should add more.)
4) At about 15-18 minutes in, taste the rice for doneness. Season risotto with salt and pepper.
5) When rice is ready, stir in lemon zest and spinach and gently toss to cook spinach.
6) Turn off heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter, peas and another small ladle of stock. Stir once more.
7) Grate in Parmesan cheese and stir gently to thicken. Ladle risotto onto plates and garnish with basil and a squeeze of lemon juice and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Recipes to Serve with Risotto
Spring Leek, Pea and Spinach Risotto
- Olive oil
- 2 leeks cleaned and sliced
- 1/2 small yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup Aborio rice
- 1 cup white wine Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio
- 6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable stock simmering
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup peas frozen or fresh
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Basil leaves roughly torn, for garnish
- In a large and wide pan, drizzle with olive oil adn place over medium heat. Saute leeks, chopped onion and garlic until soft but not browned.
- Once onions are tender and translucent, stir in rice so all grains are evenly coated with the oiil.
- While onions and leeks are cooking, have stock simmering in a pot.
- Pour white wine into risotto and stir until absorbed. Stir in 1-2 ladlefuls of warmed stock at a time and continue stirring until rice absorbds liquid.Continue to do this for about 20-22 minutes.
- At about 15-18 minutes in, taste the rice for doneness and season with salt and pepper.
- Once rice is ready, stir in lemon zest and spinach and gently toss to cook spinach.
- Turn off heat and add 1 table of spoon butter, peas and another small ladle of stock and stir to combine. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and teaste for seasoning.
- Ladle risotto onto plates and garnish with basil and a squeeze of lemon and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
This post was originally published in May, 2014 and republished in May, 2022 with added nutritional information.