Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Hi lovely leggycooks followers, and apologies for my somewhat drawn-out absence. I have been up to my eyeballs in CV’s and resumes, but I realized that despite my ever growing determination for a new work space I can’t ignore the other things in my life that enhance my daily existence. So I’m back to ruminate on the wonderfulness of cooking, eating, and imbibing. 

Today’s recipe is a fantastic mushroom and spinach risotto with a hidden healthy aspect to it. Drum roll please… it’s vegan and gluten free! That means that you can serve this delicious recipe to just about anyone as long as they’re not religiously following the Atkins diet. I created this recipe for my very cool neighbors who adhere to a vegan and gluten free diet. I was more than a little nervous to find out whether it would be edible given that I had to refrain from using butter, sausage, and cream; three ingredients which I normally rely upon to make my risotto outlandishly appetizing. Fortunately for my ego and their palate this take on arborio got extremely high marks from vegan and omnivore alike. 

The best part of this dish, besides its universal appeal; is that it tastes just as rich and decadent as other heavier incarnations without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. The secret lies in the use of baby portabello and chanterelle mushrooms that together impart a robust and absolutely delicious flavor to the risotto. Apart from mushrooms I also added about three cups of fresh baby spinach for color and guilt nullification for not making an accompanying salad.

So now that you’ve heard all the great things about eschewing diary, meat, and wheat; start cooking and see for yourself how truly tasty a vegan meal can be.

Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Serves 4

1.5 cups sliced mushrooms; a mixture of baby portabello and chanterelle or your preference

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup arborio rice

6 cups vegetable low sodium vegetable broth

black pepper to taste

2-3 cups fresh baby spinach

Heat the broth over medium heat until you reach a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low to maintain simmer. Meanwhile in a deep nonstick skillet heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium low heat. Toss in the mushrooms and garlic, and allow to cook stirring occasionally until juices are released and then evaporate off. Remove mushrooms and garlic to a separate plate and set aside.

Next coat pan with remaining olive oil and toss in the rice, briefly toast for 30 seconds then add in 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir occasionally. Once most of the broth is absorbed add in 1/2 cup more and continue the process of adding broth and stirring until all the broth is used up. After the last bit of broth is added stir in the garlic and mushrooms and then the spinach. Season the whole dish with a few grinds of pepper and a bit of salt. Serve with a chilled glass of chardonnay and an optional sprinkling of parmesan.

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