Mushroom & Spinach Risotto

Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 
Risotto.  A lovely concoction of creamy rice.  I love to eat it (and some people make fantastic risotto) and have never made it before.  I have been wanting to make it for quite a while, even had the rice sitting in the pantry. 

By sitting, I mean the rice was staring at me...maybe even taunting me.  The package screamed at me, urging me to give it a try for weeks.  It had made it's way on and off the weekly menu time and time again (all for various reasons of course, not because I was threatened by this bag of me.)  But honestly, I may have been daunted by a dish that requires you to stand at the stove for 30 or so minutes.  I have heard making risotto isn't difficult, it just takes patience.  And sometimes during the week, the last thing I want to do is have patience despite my love of cooking.

Do you see it?  Just staring...taunting...

But this was the week to do so.  I have to say, I was impressed with myself.  Not so much the evening we ate it, but the next day when I had the leftovers for lunch.  Read on, let me tell you why...

I began with garlic, mushrooms and onions.  All chopped up and ready for the pan, I sauteed them in some olive oil and slightly seasoned with salt and pepper.  I then tossed in about a cup of rice to get it toasted.  I was imagining it to toast up like the boxed Rice a Roni dishes that I do love (I know...horrible, but everyone has a weakness...right?!)   It took a bit longer than I anticipated.  I had never used Arborio rice before but I assumed it would be similar to other rice.  Don't get me wrong, it did toast up eventually, but maybe with all the mushrooms and onions, I made it a longer process?  Risotto rookie here, remember?

Next up - deglazing the pan.  I grabbed a bottle of red wine we already had open (as I sipped it from a glass in the other hand - doesn't drinking something make cooking even more fun!?) and gave the pan a turn or two with the liquid.  Lots of sizzling later, the liquid slowly evaporated and filled the kitchen with some delicious smells (insert hubs saying "mmmm, smells like coq au vin in here...")  Next up, spinach.  We had this huge bag of spinach from last week (long story short, when I was traveling hubs bought a bag since it was on the list, but I had already previously bought lots of spinach to use!) that I've been adding it to our nightly dinners to ensure nothing is wasted (Daily Sweatpants would be so proud.)

Once the spinach was wilted, I turned to the vegetable broth I had slightly simmering in the pan next to me.  "Let the stirring and liquid adding begin" I thought to myself.  I added a cup or so and began stirring....and continued stirring....stirred some more.  I did walk away and refill my wine glass. 

I got nervous that the rice wasn't accepting the broth love.

And then...I stirred some more. 

Soon enough, the rice soaked up the liquid.

I gave a sigh of relief.

I began adding more with confidence.  And of course, I stirred more.  I continued to do this for about 20 minutes total, adding more broth as needed, until I had this creamy delicious pot of rice.  Then it hit me, "Angie!  You have some goat cheese in the fridge!"  Of course, I had to add that - I figured since I didn't have any Parmesan on hand, it would be a great substitute.

As mentioned, I wasn't really impressed with my skills as we were eating it. Don't get me wrong, but I thought it was salty.  I didn't really salt the dish, but then I remembered the broth.  Unfortunately, I didn't use low sodium because we didn't have our normal broth on hand so I used the back up cubes I keep buried in the seasoning cabinet.  But, the next day when I ate the leftovers at the work, I was thinking "wow, this is delicious!"  Usually I find things get more salty overnight, but I gobbled it up without a thought of it being salty.  The dish left me pleasantly full and happy.  Hubs thought it was too "goaty," but he isn't a lover of the cheese like I am.  Moral of this story - I made a pretty good risotto, and yes, I'll do it again!

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