Wild Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Risotto.jpg

Like so many hearty, comforting dishes, risotto is a dish that’s traditionally made with what’s on hand, and leftovers. Risotto relies on the flavor of the individual ingredients—so start with the tastiest seasonal vegetables you can find, freshly grated Parmesan and good white wine. (You can serve the rest of the wine with your dinner.) Here’s a recipe for a basic risotto followed by a variation.

Basic Risotto
Serves 4 to 6

4 to 5 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil, or more if necessary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups Arborio or carnaroli rice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
Seasonal Vegetables (recipe follows)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)

1. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet and reduce the heat to medium. When the butter is melted, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more, being careful not to let it brown. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until the rice slides around easily in the pan and each grain of rice is coated with the oil-butter. Add a splash more olive oil if the pan seems too dry and season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir in the white wine and cook until it evaporates. Stir in 1/2 cup of the warm chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs all of the broth. When you hear the rice begin to sizzle in the pan, add another 1/2 cup of broth. Continue cooking the rice this way, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time and waiting until the broth is absorbed and the rice sizzles before adding more, and stirring constantly, until the rice is tender and creamy but not mushy. The process will take 20 to 25 minutes. You may not need the entire 5 cups of broth.

4. When the rice is tender and creamy, stir in the cooked vegetables along with any liquid they have released. Add any remaining uncooked vegetables and fresh herbs and cook until the vegetables are warmed through, about 4 minutes. Add a little more broth until the risotto reaches the desired consistency. Stir in half of the Parmesan. Taste for salt and pepper and season with more if necessary. Transfer the risotto to a serving dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound mixed wild mushroom (such as oyster, chanterelle, cremini, or dried porcini) cleaned and sliced 1/4-inch thin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 ounces spinach, washed, stems removed, and drained (about 2 cups leaves)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, until they are soft and light brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. You may need to work in batches to cook the mushrooms; if you overcrowd the pan, the mushrooms will steam instead of sautéing. Add the mushrooms, the uncooked spinach, and the sage and rosemary to the risotto in step 4 and proceed with the recipe.