Yet More Learning By Doing

I’m having a bit of writer’s block as far as a creative entry, but at least I made something delicious for dinner!  Well, we didn’t eat JUST this…there were some leftovers, too, but this made a fresh and tasty addition to the meal.

I’ve mentioned that I have literal “to-make” lists.  One of the first foods that I put on the lists was risotto, which I had never had before.  I know!  I wanted to try something simple that everyone would enjoy, so when I came across a recipe for a vegan mushroom and spinach risotto over at Musings from the Fishbowl, I knew it was the right place to start.

The recipe as written called for red wine…but since I went to the wine tasting last month, I am now aware that there are lots of different kinds of red wines with lots of different flavors, and I wanted to make sure I used the right one!  The black cherry-tasting wine I had particularly enjoyed at the tasting would definitely NOT work for a dish like this, so I did what anyone would do – I googled it.  Turns out, pinot noir is perfect for dishes that contain mushrooms since it has a rather woodsy, mushroomy nose (heehee, mushroomy nose).  I opted for a smaller but still cheapish bottle at the store, partly because I knew I wouldn’t drink the rest of the bottle and partly because I figured that a smallish $10 bottle of wine was probably better quality than a medium-sized bottle of the same price.  I don’t know how good the wine was itself, but it worked PERFECTLY.  After the first addition of broth had been absorbed, you’d swear by the smell of it that there were mushrooms already in with the rice.  By the time I got to the last portion of broth, the alcoholic wine smell was completely gone and the rice had a rich mushroom aroma.

I absolutely recommend this, especially if you love mushrooms.  The actual cooking, as with all risottos, takes about half an hour and is continuous, but is very satisfying and completely worth it.  It’s a lot of fun to watch and experience the transformation of the very healthy ingredients into something you’d swear was decadent and fattening.  I foresee a lot of comforting, creamy risottos in the cold and stupid months ahead (have I mentioned my utter loathing for winter?).

Mushroom Spinach Risotto

So mushroomy...
So mushroomy...

2 cups button mushrooms, sliced

Pinch each of salt & pepper

1 lb. baby spinach

Big glug of olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 or 3 garlic cloves, diced

1 cup decent quality pinot noir

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

5 cups veggie stock (I made mine with veggie buillion cubes)

Saute mushrooms in a large pan until they’re brown and the pan is full of juices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and add the spinach – you may have to add it gradually since it will take up a lot of pan space until it cooks down.  Once the spinach is thoroughly but not overly wilted (still bright green), remove the pan from the heat and set aside.  In a medium soup pot, heat the oil, then add the onion and saute until it’s translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute, then pour in the wine.  Simmer the wine over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until it cooks down a bit, then add the rice.  Continue to simmer, stirring constantly.  Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 3/4 to 1 cup of the stock and continue stirring until it’s absorbed.  Repeat until you are down to the last cup(ish) of stock.  Pour in the stock, stir until halfway absorbed, then add the mushrooms and spinach.  Continue to stir for another couple of minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and cover it.  Let it sit for a few minutes, and then enjoy!

You could definitely use a meat-based stock if you wanted to, but since I don’t eats the meats I kept it veggie, and no one minded at all.  I intended to make some kind of simple chicken…thing for Z to have with this, but since the fridge was still stuffed with leftovers from a turkey dinner the other night and I was very hungry when I got home from the store…ehhhh next time.

Coming soon: More sugary adventures!


  1. omg, this sounds delicious! I will have to add this to my “to make” list.

    I made a really delicious risotto once that involved butternut squash…will have to dig out the recipe and share.

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