It’s been very hot-o in Los Angeles-o so I decided to crank up the heat another notch like an idiot-o! I didn’t have a lot of food at the apartment except some leftovers odds and ends of veg and some pantry items. Lucky for me I had bought arborio rice a few weeks ago (with the plan of one day making risotto) and had all the fix in’s to make risotto. It was already painfully hot so why not hover over a stove for an hour?!
I’ve made risotto before, usually in the winter, and I tend to use cozy root veg like squash and load it it up with tons of parmesan cheese. Seeing as I didn’t have squash or parm and my eyelids were sweating, I decided to make something a little bit more untraditional; mushroom, spinach, tomato and feta risotto with tons of fresh herbs.
Feta in risotto? Why hadn’t I thought of this before! Obviously I’m not the first person to do this and I certainly won’t be the last. So let’s make this thing!
Julia’s Mediterranean Risotto
1 cup arborio rice
4-5 cups vegetable broth
olive oil and/or butter
1 cup white wine (I used sauvignon blanc because it’s what I had)
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
package of white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
couple handfuls of spinach
half package of feta (just eyeball it and add as much or as little as you like)
fresh herbs of choice (I used oregano, rosemary, basil, chives and dill)
dried herbs if you feel like it (I did some thyme and parsley)
salt and pepper
- In a large deep pan or heavy pot, heat a glug of olive oil and pad of butter over medium heat. In another small sauce pan, heat your vegetable broth over medium heat.
- Add onion to large pot and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook for another 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and woody fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme) and any dried herbs you’re feeling. Cook 1 more minute.
- Add rice and let it get nice and toasty for a minute or 2 before dumping in a cup of wine. Lower temp to medium/low. Let the wine evaporate, stirring frequently.
- Once the liquid is absorbed pour a ladle of the hot vegetable broth into the rice/veg mixture. Again, let the rice absorb the liquid, stirring frequently. You’re going repeat this process until all the broth is gone or the risotto is tender, creamy and gooey. You want it to have a velvety, oozy quality. It shouldn’t be stiff like a regular mound of rice.
- Now that the rice is where you want it to be, crumble in half the feta and toss in a handful or two of fresh spinach. Lower the heat, cover and let the spinach wilt for a minute or 2.
- Give it a stir and now you’re ready to plate! Garnish with fresh chives, dill and basil, salt and pepper, chili flakes if you want some heat, the remaining feta and a lemon wedge.
- Pour yourself a crisp glass of white wine and enjoy!
DELICIOUSOTTO! Seriously. What a treat! Risotto isn’t super difficult, it’s just time consuming. I find all the stirring therapeutic. The mushrooms and herbs give it a nice earthiness and the tomatoes and feta keep it bright. I like a squeeze of lemon and chili flakes on most food because acid and spice are key to elevating flavour and probably heart burn 😉
The best thing about this dish is that it looks super elegant and it’s not expensive at all. You could easily serve this at a dinner party and impress all your guests. This made enough for 4 people but could probably have fed 5 or 6…
We had leftovers the next day along side a seared new york strip steak with my homemade chive, rosemary and oregano chimichurri. (just finely chopped fresh herbs with lemon, olive oil, red wine vinegar, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.) YUM! When reheating risotto (I did it on the stove because our microwave is terrible) add a bit more broth (or water if you’re out of broth) to loosen it up. I added some more spinach and feta too. I felt like a king!
You can feel like a king or queen or whatever royalty you want by making yourself a delicious mediterranean risotto. YOU DESERVE NICE THINGS. So eat this annnnnnd….
Shut up! 🙂