Kale + Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto

For as much as I talk about Costco on my blog, you’d think my blog is sponsored by Costco. It’s not. It just so happens that the majority of my posts recently seem to revolve around the massive amount of some food item I purchased at Costco and what I end up doing to use it up. This post is a mixture of WTH can I do with all this _____ from Costco + WTH can I do with all this _____ from my garden — more so the latter but the recipe I chose was perfect to start using up the 10 lb bag of short-grain brown rice I bought a few weeks ago and had yet to rip open.

Earlier in the spring Sis helped me plant a garden. She planted 6 little kale plants and a stalk of boysenberry at the back of my yard along my fence. I left for several weeks. When I came back, 5 of the 6 kale plants had shot right up. The last one, planted at the edge of the dirt near my driveway, never really made it out of the infant stage. I was afraid the 5 kale plants that had shot up while I was gone were somehow overdone, but Sis assured me Kale are hearty plants and that the kale would just get bigger and bigger.

Still I felt this nagging panic start to rise inside of me insisting that I must start using some of the kale, so I began looking for interesting recipes to try and quickly settled on this creamy risotto dish from Food & Wine as my inspiration. I knew as soon as I started looking at the recipe that I was going to have to make some adjustments. The original recipe called for 12 ounces of kale. That is a freaking lot of kale. I ended up somewhere around 9 ounces of kale and used 12 ounces of mushroom and I felt like the kale to mushroom ratio in the finished product was too high. What I was going for was a balance of kale and mushroom but the kale crowded out the mushroom in the dish. I tried to compensate for that here by increasing the mushroom amount. Of course I’m a big fan of customizing dishes to my liking, so if you’d rather have more kale, go with the original amount of 12 ounces.

The Food & Wine recipe was nearly vegan, except for the two tablespoons of butter and the one-third cup of parmesan cheese added in at the end. In my recollection, previous risotto recipes I’d made had used either heavy cream or half-and-half so I decided to add a cup of heavy cream at the end to finish the dish. I also upped the cheese quantity significantly because I also believe risotto, unless completely vegan, should contain a hefty amount of cheese. The end result was an ultra-comforting bowl of creamy warm rice and veggies that was so good I ended up burning my tongue during the first 20 or so bites. It was the perfect dinner for the rainy Seattle evening.

I have this recipe labeled as a side dish. It would be a great accompaniment to roast chicken or grilled salmon IMO. However, if you serve yourself up a big hearty bowl of this creamy rice dish, you have yourself a yummy vegetarian main.


  • 4 c. mushroom broth or stock
  • 4 c. vegetable broth or stock
  • ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 
  • 16 oz cremini or baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • kosher salt  
  • freshly cracked black pepper 
  • 9 oz Tuscan kale, stemmed, leaves chopped into ½-inch pieces 
  • 2 T. butter 
  • 1 yellow onion, minced 
  • 2 c. sweet brown rice (short grain rice)
  • 1 c. dry white wine  
  • 1 T. chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving


  1. In a saucepan, mix the mushroom and vegetable broths and bring to a simmer; keep warm.
  2. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the casserole. Add the kale and cook over moderate heat until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kale to the mushrooms and put in the fridge.
  4. In the casserole, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated with oil and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated. Add 2 cups of the hot broth, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the broth has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Repeat with another 2 cups of broth.
  5. Add broth, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring often, until it is mostly absorbed between additions. Rice should have an al dente texture when finished. When adding the last cup of broth, add the mushrooms, kale, thyme, cheese, heavy cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook, stirring, until the risotto is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Recipe rating: 

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