Happy Thursday! I woke up bright and early but just wasn’t feeling a workout so I’m being super ambitious and blogging in the AM. There is something so peaceful to me about early mornings at my kitchen table writing. (And it’ll be even better once I have coffee in my hand. I’m currently flushing out my kuerig since I haven’t used it in a week so I should have coffee in about 10 minutes. )
There is also something comforting to me about mac & cheese and macaroni & tomato – something my mom used to make for our family; it was our favorite! Just plain macaroni with homemade tomato juice. Spicy tomato juice sometimes too ‘cuz my dad loves spicy food. Boxed gluten-free, dairy-free mac & cheese just isn’t that good and I haven’t taken the time to tried a homemade variety. And macaroni & tomato is not macaroni & tomato without homemade tomato juice. (Anyone in town happen to have some lying around for me??)
But I have found something else that elicits that same comforting feeling. And it’s gluten-free. And my version is dairy-free. Risotto. So, when all else fails… eat risotto.
Sorry for the iPhone photo. I HATE posting food pictures using an iPhone camera but I can’t find my Nikon. Not freaking out yet, but I shall soon. In which case, I’ll make more risotto.
Easy (Vegan) Spinach Mushroom Risotto
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side
Inspired by this recipe
- 1/4 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 yellow onions
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 c. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (I’ve used white button and baby bella…crimini would also be nice)
- 1 large sprig fresh thyme
- 1 cup Arborio or short-grain white rice
- 3 handfuls baby spinach (3-4 cups)
- 1 cup + 2 T dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth (see how to make your own)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to garnish
1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Rinse the dried mushrooms lightly. Place the mushrooms in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set them aside to steep while you cook the onions.
2. Dice one of the onions. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 3-quart (or larger) ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. (I used my knock-off Le Creuset.) Add the diced onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden.
3. Push the onions to the side of the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add all the sliced (fresh) mushrooms, spread in a flat layer as much as you can, and let them cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Flip the mushrooms and cook for another five minutes, or until they are quite brown and a crust is developing on the bottom of the pan.
4. Drain the dried mushrooms, saving the liquid. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and rosemary sprig to the pan and sauté briefly, mixing with the onion and the rest of the mushrooms. Add the rice and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 4 minutes, or until the rice begins to turn transparent.
5. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, broth, spinach, and reserved mushroom steeping liquid. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan as you add the liquid to deglaze any mushroom/onion bits sticking to the pan. Stir in the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and put it in the oven to bake for 35 minutes.
6. While the rice is baking, make the caramelized onions. Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron if you have it). Cut the remaining onion in half, and then slice into thin half moons. Add them to the oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown. Let them go as long as you can, at least 30 minutes.
7. When the risotto has finished baking, let it stand uncovered for 5 minutes before serving.
And if all else fails, including your risotto (it shouldn’t), just drink the leftover white wine.