Organic Spinach Risotto with Moonstruck Feta and Poached Pears

Michael Ringland, Executive Chef at Haro’s, kindly shares his recipe for risotto, explaining that “we like to use anything we can get locally, like the spinach from Saanich Organics and local pears.”



1/2 Lb Unsalted Butter

1/4 C Olive Oil

1 Kg Box Arborio Rice

1 Yellow Onion Small Dice

2 C White Wine

8-10 C Hot Chicken Stock

6 C Cleaned Spinach Leaves

1 C Grated Parmesan

1/4 Lb Butter

Farmstead Feta (from Moonstruck cheese on Saltspring Island, or any type of feta)

Salt & Pepper


Riesling Cassis Poached Pears:

3 Pears (we used Anjou), peeled cut in half and cored

1 Vanilla Bean Split

1 Bay Leaf

12 Whole Black Peppercorns

1/2 C Sugar

1/2 Bottle Riesling

1 C Cassis Flavouring



Poach the pears first by adding all ingredients together and let them simmer for about half an hour or until they are soft and let the pears cool down in the liquid. Use a quarter of a pear sliced thin for each dish. You can freeze the liquid after to use in the future or make a sorbet with it.


For the risotto, sweat the onion in the 1/2 lb of butter and olive oil on medium heat, add the arborio rice and cook for about 2-3 minutes, de-glaze with the white wine and cook until the rice soaks it up, start ladling the hot stock in, just enough to cover the rice, when the stock is about 3/4 soaked into the rice add more stock, continue this process until the rice is cooked. The rice should have a little bite to it when it’s finished – about 20 minutes, although it may take a bit longer, there is no exact amount of stock to make risotto so you may have some left at the end. The risotto should be a bit loose with liquid in it so it’s not dried out. Add your spinach to the risotto at the very end as it will cook quickly, add the parmesan and 1/4 lb of butter and stir in fast so it all comes together and has a nice creamy consistancy. Stir the rice carefully in the beginning stages as you don’t want the rice to break up. Place the risotto in a bowl, sprinkle the crumbled feta over top and place the pears on top. Finish the dish with mint and flat-leaf parsley leaves dressed in olive oil. Season risotto in 3 stages, beginning, middle and end.

Makes 12 small servings

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