Frozen Spinach Risotto
If you’re one of those people who wouldn’t even think of trying to make a “difficult” dish like risotto, you should definitely try this one out.
With plain simple ingredients like yellow onion, frozen spinach, and some sauteed mushrooms, you can still make a delicious gourmet meal any time of the year.
| What goes into a Frozen Spinach Risotto? (And their substitutes)
Olive oil & Yellow onion – With much Italian pasta and risotto dishes an essential part of the cooking process is called the soffritto. It’s when you slowly fry minced, aromatic vegetables. Usually in olive oil, but you can also use butter.
The kind of vegetable you use depends on the main ingredient. For this frozen spinach Risotto, we’ll be using yellow onion. But the more delicate shallot is also an option. Or a clove of garlic.
Frozen spinach – I’ll probably don’t have to tell you about the benefits of spinach. Some sailorman made that clear already. But I do question the lousy reputation some frozen vegetables have. I mean, you can keep it in your freezer for up to six months (till your next risotto), and it’s still more nutritious than fresh spinach.
Cheese & butter – When the risotto is almost finished and has the consistency you want, we’re adding butter and cheese. Italians call this the mantecatura. I can’t find an exact translation, but it comes down to making the risotto extra creamy.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is used a lot for this (for some American readers, not all parmesan cheese is Parmigiano-Reggiano. There is a difference) But in another spinach risotto recipe, I used Gorgonzola cheese. Or, if you want a lighter cheese, you can use Taleggio.
Instead of butter, olive oil will also do.
Mushrooms – The frozen spinach risotto will taste good on its own, of course. But adding some glazing mushrooms on top always does well, especially with spinach. In this recipe, I’m using a mix of shiitake, chestnut, nameko, and oyster mushroom. But feel free to just use Chestnut or white mushrooms.
Carnaroli Rice – The difference between “normal rice” and rice used for risotto is in part that rice used for risotto is able to release starch and absorb lots of liquid. But between the rice used for risotto, there are also a lot of varieties. A popular type is called “arborio.” But I prefer using the one that’s called “carnaroli.”
Why? Well, in short, it’s easier to work with. And because it releases a lot of starch and can absorb a lot of liquid, it also makes the creamiest risotto.
A wide sauté pan – Usually, when I cook risotto for multiple people, I will use a wide, heavy-bottomed saute pan. I find a wide pan easier to stir the risotto in, which is needed because we want to release the starch, but the rice also will be cooked more evenly.
But If I’m the only one who will be eating, or maybe with just one other person, a small pot will also work perfectly.
Stockpot or a small sauté pot – Just to keep the broth on a simmer.
A regular frying pan – To sauté the mushrooms, you want to use a frying pan or a large skillet. I recommend using a large one because mushrooms usually release a lot of moisture while cooking. If you are using a small pan, there’s a chance you will be boiling them instead of frying.
A kitchen knife and cutting board
Frozen Spinach Risotto
- 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Medium Yellow onion Finely chopped
- 8 Ounces (250 Gram) Frozen Spinach
- 1 Pound (450 Gram) Mixed mushrooms
- ⅓ Cup (30 Gram) Parmigiano-Reggiano Grated
- 1.5 Cup (300 Gram) Carnaroli rice
- 6 Cups (1.5 Liter) Vegetable broth
- In a sauté pan on low heat, cook the frozen spinach until it is completely loosened up and warm. Then drain it and set it aside. Bring the broth to simmer.
- Meanwhile, add the mushrooms in a dry frying pan over high heat and cook them for 5 minutes. Then turn the heat to low/medium and cook them for another 15 minutes. When all the liquid is evaporated, add a tablespoon of butter.
- Clean the sauté pan and put it on low heat again, add oil and yellow onion. Cook until it is soft and translucent. (5min)
- Now add rice and toast it for a minute or two. Then add a ladle of broth and let it cook until it is all absorbed, then add a new spoon. Keep repeating this process till the rice is almost al dente. (14-17 minutes) Stir often.
- When the rice is almost done, stir in spinach.
- Taste the rice. Is it al dente? If yes, turn off the heat. Now add Parmesan cheese and butter. Stir it and let it rest for a minute.
- Give it one last stir, spoon into plates and top off with the sauteed mushrooms.
| Other risotto recipes you might like
Notes & Tips
Suppose you want your risotto to have a lively green color. Take 2 ounces of spinach and a cup of broth and mix it in a blender or a food processor. When you’re adding broth to the risotto, add this mix also.
You can check the consistency of your risotto by run your spatula through it. By telling how fast space fills up again, you can see the texture. If you want it to loosen up, add a bit more broth. It does not tell you if the risotto is done, though.
If you want to use fresh spinach, add it when the risotto is almost finished. Just like the frozen spinach in this recipe
If you found this recipe helpful or have any tips, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!