Years ago, I aspired to make risotto for the first time. But I hesitated, because it was a little intimidating and seemed quite difficult. Coincidentially, around the same time, I happened to catch a cooking show about risotto. The chef explained step-by-step how to make it and alleviated any uncertainty I had. Armed with a recipe from Cooking Light, I was bound and determined to perfect the art of making risotto!
Fortunately, risotto was just as easy to make as the professionals on television led me to believe. Years later, we are still enjoying that same recipe, however since then I have incorporated a few changes to the original recipe. I swapped oregano for thyme, added lots of fresh spinach and used vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian dish.
While we enjoy this risotto as a vegetarian entree, it of course makes for a wonderful side dish. Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone is a household favorite, suitable for company, and a definite crowd pleaser.
Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone
- 1½ cups boiling water
- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 14 ounces vegetable broth
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice (or other short-grain rice)
- ¾ cup chopped shallots
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup white wine
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine boiling water and mushrooms; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain through colander over a bowl. Reserve 1¼ cups soaking liquid, and chop mushrooms.
- In a small sauce pan, bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer (do not boil), keeping mixture warm over low heat.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots and garlic; saute 5 minutes, or until the rice gets browned and toasted.
- Add wine and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).
- Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed (about 5 minutes); stirring frequently.
- Add remaining broth mixture ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently, until each portion of the broth mixture is nearly absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total).
- Remove pan from heat. Add mushrooms, cheeses, oregano, spinach, salt and pepper, stirring gently until combined and cheese melts. Serve warm.
Serving size: 4 servings
Adapted from Cooking Light