Mushroom + Spinach Risotto with Grilled Vegetables

Extra creamy mushroom + spinach risotto topped off with seasonal grilled veggies - the perfectly beautiful indulgent meal!

risotto2.jpeg

Risotto, one of those foods that may seem super intimidating yet is actually pretty easy to make - it just takes time. I don’t know about you but I find making food like this really therapeutic and relaxing. I would make risotto all the time - that is if it wasn’t such a rich calorie-filled meal.

Risotto is one of those things that you make for a special occasion or when you really want to indulge - I mean seriously your basically eating a big bowl of cheesy, wine-filled rice! Now, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, you just probably don't want to eat it on a weekly basis.

So there are a couple of keys to making a great risotto.

  1. Let the rice toast in your pan for a couple of minutes before you add the liquid.

  2. Add in stock that has been warmed so that you don’t reduce your cooking temperature.

If you do these 2 things your literally golden, all you need to do is stir then stir some more. So while you can basically put anything in your risotto I also love to put something on top. Grilled vegetables are a great option, it makes you feel like you are doing something a little bit healthy, plus it looks beautiful.

So next time you want to treat yourself or someone you love make up a big batch of this creamy risotto! I promise you will not be disappointed!

risotto.jpg

prep time 10 minutes

cook time 30 - 40 minutes

total time 50 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1/2 red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

1 cup white mushrooms

1 cup white wine

1 1/2 cup arborio rice

4-6 cups chicken stock

1/2 lemon

3 cups of spinach

1 - 2 cups parmesan

salt + pepper

15 asparagus spears

1 zucchini

Instructions

In a medium sauce pan pour in chicken stock (starting with 4 cups) and allow to heat. You want it to be warm but not simmering or boiling.

In a large frying pan with high sides place olive oil and 1/4 of your red onion finely chopped. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. To the pot add in chopped mushrooms and cook another 3 minutes then add in garlic and cook another 30 seconds.

To the pot add in arborio rice and allow to toast for 3 minutes stirring often. Add in your white wine and stir - allowing the rice to absorb all of the liquid. Once all of the liquid is absorbed being adding in chicken stock one ladle full at a time and allowing all of the liquid to be absorbed before adding more stock. Continue this process stirring often until your rice is fully cooked (you will need to taste it frequently to know when it is done).

While your rice is cooking prepare the vegetables for your topping. Slice your zucchini, asparagus and remaining 1/4 of red onion then season with salt & pepper. Grill on each side for 3-4 minutes or until tender.

Once your risotto is at the desired tenderness add in the juice of 1/2 a lemon, chopped spinach and grated parmesan. Stir then season with salt + pepper to taste.

risotto3.jpg

Roasted Garlic Pesto Spaghettini with Pan Fried Oyster Mushrooms + Crispy Pancetta

If you're a pesto lover, you will LOVE this version! Roasting the garlic mellows out the flavour and gives depth to this easy, fresh pasta dish!

pestopasta.jpeg

Happy Thursday and Happy last day of February everyone! Spring is just around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

So when I think about spring I think of light, fresh meals that don’t require a ton of time in the kitchen. This pesto pasta is a great way to get ready for sunnier weather because even though its pasta it’s still fresh and doesn’t feel heavy.

I don’t know about you, but I love pesto! With the addition of roasted garlic, this pesto has a more mellow, less sharp flavour.

There are many ways to roast garlic, but in this recipe, I slow roasted in oil. I did this for 1 reason - I didn't have any tinfoil. But, in the end, it turned out to be the best "mistake" I have made in a while. Since we all know pesto needs olive oil, you can use the oil you cook your garlic in and add even more flavour to your dish.

Now, don’t be afraid of the amount of garlic that is in the recipe. It’s a lot, and if it was raw, it would be so incredibly overpowering. But since it’s cooked the flavour is mellow and sweet.

Lastly, I had beautiful oyster mushrooms that I found at the farmers market, but if you can’t find them or they are not readily available where you live, white mushrooms work just as well.

pestopasta5.jpg

prep time 20 minutes

cook time 40 minutes

total time 1 hour

servings 4

Ingredients

1 full head of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup walnuts + more to garnish

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp salt + 2 tsp for pasta water

5 oz pancetta

3 cups oyster mushrooms (or any mushrooms you have)

3/4 lb spaghettini

Instructions

In a small saucepan combine peeled garlic cloves and olive oil, cook over medium heat until the edges of garlic begin to bubble. Reduce heat and allow garlic to simmer for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Be sure to turn your garlic ever 2-3 minutes so that it does not burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a food processor combine basil, parmesan, walnuts, garlic and oil. Blend until smooth then add in lemon juice and salt and blend for 30 more seconds. Taste the pesto and add additional lemon juice and salt if necessary.

In a large saucepan add in pancetta and fry for 4-5 minutes or until crispy. Remove pancetta from the pot and place in a small bowl, drain all but 1 tbsp of the pancetta grease and set aside. To the pot add chopped mushrooms and fry until all of the liquid is gone, and the mushrooms are golden brown. Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the pancetta.

Fill the same large saucepan 3/4 full with water, add in salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling add in pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, drain then place pasta back in the pot.

To the pasta add in pancetta, mushrooms and pesto. Stir well then serve immediately. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

pestopasta2.jpeg