Sunday, 3 February 2013

Oven baked spinach and mushroom risotto

I'm a big advocate of not throwing away food, so last night when I had to cook dinner I just opened the fridge looking for inspiration and it hit me! A risotto, one of my favorite comfort foods with super healthy spinach and mushrooms. Half an hour later, this baby was born:

To serve yourself and a lucky friend you'll need:
- 6 or 7 sliced button mushrooms (feel free to vary the kinds of mushrooms you use, the more the merrier!)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 150g arborio rice
- 2-3 handfuls of spinach leaves
- 500ml vegetable stock
- half a glass of white wine
- splash of cream (optional)
- cheese (see below)

To make magic happen I highly recommend a cast iron casserole dish, you can use it on the stove and then pop it in the oven (saving on washing up!), you can make bread, slow cook, you name it! But most importantly it can retain heat and distribute it evenly. If, however, you don't have one, just use a casserole and then an oven dish with a lid.

Magic in process
When ready to roll, preheat your oven to 190C, and fry your onion, garlic cloves and mushrooms until they just start to soften.
Add the spinach and cover to let all the flavours mingle together. At this point don't worry if the spinach fills the whole pan, when it's cooked it will seem much less!
After 5 minutes or so, give everything a good stir and add the rice. Give them a few minutes to get to know each other and then add the wine. Once the wine is absorbed, add the stock and a few grinds of salt and pepper. Cover and pop into the oven.

Have a glass of wine, you deserve it.

About 15 minutes later, remove from the oven, add your cream if you're using and half your cheese. Pop it back in the oven and have another glass of wine.
Concerning the cheese, people usually use parmesan. I don't. I use blue cheese. It melts and makes the risotto creamy and gooey and absolutely delicious! Also it was the only cheese I had at home.
Nevertheless, if you are going to go for parmesan stir well away from that powdered stuff you get from the supermarket and opt for freshly grated parmesan (meaning you buy the block of cheese and grate it yourself!). The difference in taste is enormous.

Now, back to the food, after five minutes into the oven and your second glass of wine, take the risotto out of the oven and serve with some more cheese on top.


PS: Concerning the cast iron casseroles, if your budget allows it I would recommend the Rolls Royce of casserole dishes, the Le Creuset. If however you're after something a bit more affordable, Argos and Ikea have some pretty good ones for under £25.

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