Our garden peas are only tiny shoots at this point, but all the trees and flowers now in bloom here in Indy have us in the mood for spring eats. So we cheated a bit with some frozen ones for this risotto – and boy was it worth it! Plus, we used locally grown spinach from the market (though we’ll soon have our own as well!).
I am not exaggerating when I say the flavor of this risotto was outstanding. We didn’t play much with the original recipe from Real Simple except to substitute brown Arborio rice to make ourselves feel healthier (and because we have a lifetime quantity in our pantry). It would be just as good with white Arborio rice, or any other grain for that matter (we tried it with farro and had good results)
This recipe dispelled my previous notion that sautéing a shallot in butter and reducing some white wine couldn’t be THAT special (and should I really open a bottle just for this recipe?). Well yes, in fact, it lends a beautiful subtle flavor that only the French could devise. I’m now a believer!
We enjoyed the concept of baking the risotto instead of the traditional method stirring it over the stovetop – it made for easy preparation. Ours didn’t turn out quite as creamy as a normal risotto (likely due to the brown rice), but the flavor made up for any lack in that department. And that flavor made it hard to squeeze out the four servings the recipe promises – so you may want to make a bit more just in case :)
- 1 shallot
- 1 bunch fresh spinach (3 cups chopped)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup brown Arborio rice
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Mince 1 shallot. Wash and roughly chop 3 cups spinach.
- In a Dutch oven or large ovensafe pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add the shallot, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup white wine and sauté until the wine is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- Add 3 cups vegetable broth and 1 cup rice and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the rice is tender. If the rice is slightly dry when finished, add a bit of hot water.
- Add ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup frozen peas, and the chopped spinach. Stir until thoroughly combined and the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve garnished with additional Parmesan.