I apologize in advance for this rant: I HATE how some bags of fresh spinach go bad quickly. If there is one leaf in the pre-washed bag that is wet the rest of the spinach will start to wilt in no time. I always double-check the bag at the grocery store to determine whether the leaves look too damaged in hopes of preventing the spinach from going bad quickly. Thankfully we eat a lot of produce (side, smoothies, salads, snacks) and wilting spinach is not a problem I encounter often. If the spinach starts to get “mushy” (technical term) I usually add it to my smoothie or make creamed spinach. The thing I hate more than veggies that don’t stay fresh is wasting food. So I get creative with my uses of wilted spinach. A friend had posted a picture of creamy kale risotto a while back and I determined that this would be the next role for spinach that has outlived its salad making potential.
Some dishes just sound intimidating. Risotto was definitely one of them for me. But it does not have to be. Risotto does take more patience and time then cooking plain rice, but risotto is rice dressed up for a night on the town…and the result is totally worth the wait! At least that’s what I tell Andrew when I am taking longer to get ready ;)
Let’s be honest I like to drink wine while I cook…so why not add wine to the food and take the risotto flavor up another notch. My rule for cooking with wine is: only add wine that you would drink to your food, if you wouldn’t enjoy drinking it why would you enjoy eating it? Risotto does not have to be made with wine, if you omit the wine you will need to add more stock to ensure that the rice cooks properly.
You can really get creative with risotto and add other produce or protein sources to make this side dish an entree. The spinach flavor with the meaty bite of the crimini mushrooms was a great combination in this dish, I’m excited to add this to my repertoire of mushy spinach recipes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 vegetable bouillon cube
4 C water
8 oz fresh spinach, washed
1 C jasmine rice (or arborio rice), do not rinse
1/2 C red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C dry white wine
1 C fresh grated parmesan
1/4 t nutmeg, grated
extra virgin olive oil
fresh cracked pepper
- Add the bouillon cube to the water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover with lid to keep warm. (Note: You can substitute already prepared vegetable, beef, or chicken stock, bring to a boil and set aside)
- Add the spinach to a large pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until wilted (~3-5 minutes).
- Transfer the spinach to a food processor or blender. Add half of the minced garlic and pulse until a spinach paste is formed.
- Using the same pan that you cooked the spinach in, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until onion is translucent.
- Add rice to the pan, stir to coat rice in oil, and toast for 2 minutes.
- Add wine to the rice mixture, cook until most of the wine has reduced, stirring rice occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the pan.
- Add mushrooms to the pan. Set timer to 20 minutes and add 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock to the rice mixture. Stir and cover with lid.
- Every 2-3 minutes add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vegetable stock, stir, and cover with lid. Stop adding stock to the rice mixture when the rice is no longer absorbing the cooking liquid and it appears creamy. (Note: it takes me 3 to 31/2 cups of stock to get to this point, but it may vary depending on the rice you use).
- Remove pan from the heat and incorporate spinach puree and nutmeg to the risotto.
- Add freshly grated parmesan and cracked pepper, give a quick stir, serve immediately, garnished with some fresh parmesan.