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 :)
Pea and Spinach Baked Risotto
What You Need
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown Arborio rice (or substitute the grain of your choice)
1 cup frozen peas
A bunch of fresh spinach (enough for about 3 cups chopped)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper
What To Do
1 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Finely dice a shallot. Wash and roughly chop enough spinach to make around 3 cups.
2 In a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add the shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and fresh ground pepper. Sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup white wine and sauté until the wine is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
3 Add 3 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup rice. Bring to a boil. When boiling, cover the pot and transfer to the oven.
4 Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the rice is tender. If the rice is dry when finished, add a bit of hot water.
5 Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup frozen peas, and chopped spinach. Stir until thoroughly combined and the spinach is wilted. Season to taste; serve garnished with additional Parmesan.