Creamy mushroom and spinach risotto is a perfect midweek meal. I love the texture of risotto. When it is cooked to perfection it just has a hint of bite to each grain and is coated in a creamy starchy liquid bursting with flavour. If you think risotto is hard to cook, let me assure you it isn’t.
I make risotto a lot. It’s quick (ish), easy and generally speaking a very economical dish, with an infinite number of variations. Since purchasing a pressure cooker last year, I cook it even more often, as I can have a risotto on the table in under 30 minutes. Maybe the result is not quite as creamy as when cooked conventionally but for convenience sake I don’t mind that.
That said even cooked the traditional way you can knock it up about 45-50 minutes and there is something rather satisfying about stirring the rice as it cooks and transforms into a delicious, filling one-pot meal. The trick to achieving the creamy texture of a good risotto is to add warm stock, a little at a time allowing each ladleful of stock to be absorbed into the rice before adding the next one. Keep the stock at a simmer in another pan as you cook.
Mushroom risotto is a good stand by as I often have mushrooms in the fridge. A few dried porcini mushrooms really intensify the mushroom flavour. I keep them around since they are also great added to stews and casserole, and a little goes a long way. More recently I have been chucking in a handful of spinach leaves at the end of cooking as I feel it makes for a more balanced meal, but you could leave the spinach out, or try adding peas instead if you prefer.
After frying the rice briefly before adding the stock I add a little wine (which is traditional) or cider (not so traditional). It adds to the flavour and gives me an excuse to open a bottle and have a cheeky glass with my meal. It can easily be left out though. In comparison to a classic Italian risotto, which can be almost soup-like, I make my risotto a little on the dry side. If you prefer to go down the traditional route simply add a little more liquid.
I have included instructions for both methods of cooking. Whichever way you choose let me know how you get on by leaving a comment and rating the recipe. I would love to hear from you.
step by step mushroom and spinach risotto
- 15g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 litre vegetable stock (less if using a pressure cooker see notes below)
- 50g butter
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 225g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 300g risotto rice
- 150ml dry white wine (if desired)
- handful spinach leaves (if desired)
- 50-75g grated fresh parmesan cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and cover with 150ml boiling water. Allow to stand for 15 minutes, then remove from the water with a draining spoon and slice.
- Strain the soaking liquid through a tea strainer into a saucepan. Add the vegetable stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to keep the stock at simmering point while you cook the risotto
- Heat 25g of the butter with the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, and cook gently until it has softened. Stir in garlic and sliced chestnut mushrooms. Cook gently for 5 minutes until the mushrooms have softened.
- Add the rice and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until very hot. Add the wine (if using) or your first ladleful of stock and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
- Continue to add the stock a ladleful at a time and cook over a medium heat stirring until the stock has evaporated before adding the next ladleful.
- Keep cooking and stirring until all the stock has been added and the risotto has a creamy texture but the grains of rice are still firm to the bite in the centre. Add a ladle or two of hot water if necessary once all stock has been added and the rice is still too firm.
- Stir in the spinach (if using) into the risotto. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter and parmesan cheese. Season to taste, then allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Left over risotto can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat throughly before serving.