Asparagus, Mushroom, and Spinach Risotto

As soon as I read Bread and Wine, I knew I had to try the risotto. It sounded like a fun, delicious challenge. And it was! Now she’s right, plan on spending time in the kitchen. Risotto isn’t something you can set and forget. You have to stir and check, and then check again, and stir again. IMG_0240That’s not to say you’ll spend your evening tirelessly stirring a pot. You won’t. You just can’t leave the kitchen for about an hour. So pour yourself some of that wine you’ll use, and make this risotto.

Asparagus, Mushroom, and Spinach Risotto

Adapted from Bread and Wine

Serves 4 as the main dish, or 6-8 as a side

You’ll need:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups rice (I used white, though risotto traditionally calls for arborio)
  • 1 cup white wine–dry or sweet; I used Riesling
  • 6 cups broth
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • 6 stalks asparagus, sliced into small peices
  • 8-10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups spinach

1. In a large pot, heat your chicken broth. If you don’t have chicken broth on hand, 6 cups of water and 6 tablespoons of olive oil will work well as a substitute.

2. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, drizzle some olive oil–you want a thin layer on the bottom of the pot. Heat the oil on medium heat, then add the onion; after 2 or 3 minutes, add the garlic.

3. When the onion is translucent, add the rice. Stir it until all of the rice coated with oily goodness. After it’s coated, add the wine. Once the wine is absorbed, add 1 cup of your warm broth. Stir!

4. Now, your main goal is to keep the rice from drying out. On the flip side of drying out, you don’t want it to be drowning in liquid either. When the risotto appears to have absorbed the cup of broth, add another cup, and stir. Regarding the heat of the stove, you want little bubbles to surface periodically, but you don’t want it to be boiling. Turn your stove up or down accordingly.

5. Periodically taste it along the way, and add what you think it needs. A little salt? More garlic?

6. When all but one cup of broth is used, heat the butter in a frying pan. Once the butter melts, add the asparagus. After 3 or 4 minutes, add the mushrooms.

7. While step 6 is happening, add the last cup of broth, and allow it to absorb into the rice. When it’s done, add some Parmesan cheese based on how much you like Parmesan, as well as some pepper.

8. Remove from heat, mix in the asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach. The heat of the risotto will wilt the spinach perfectly!

9. Serve with a bit more Parmesan sprinkled on top, as well as a bit of cracked pepper.

IMG_0245Serve a big, heaping bowl as a main dish, or smaller portions with an entree. Enjoy!

Easy dinner!

This one is so easy. And so tasty. It makes for a yummy, nutritious weekday meal.

First, start some rice or quinoa on the stove. Whichever you like! Prepared however you like (or by following directions on the package).

Dice up a chicken breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sautee it in some olive oil.

While that’s cooking, put 4 pieces of bacon in a skillet.

Once the chicken is cooked through, add spinach, and toss together until the spinach is wilted. Like so.

 

 

 

 

 

Put it all together! Fill bowls with rice/quinoa, and top with chicken, spinach, and diced bacon. Mix it up!

Dinner. In less than 30 minutes. And it contains bacon. Can’t ask for much more than that. See the full recipe at Iowa Girl Eats.

 

 

Noodles of the homemade variety

I will not claim to be an expert on the noodle-making front. Far from it, in reality. But, after a couple of trail runs fails, I feel like I can, with a modicum of confidence, share with you what I’ve discovered.

In theory, making noodles is very easy. In fact, you could probably do it right now with the items that you have in your cupboard. I’m not going to call this easy, but I will call it doable. Definitely doable.

Without further ado, grab your ingredients: flour, 1 egg, olive oil, salt, and water.

1. Dump 1 cup of flour on the counter, and make it into a volcano. Like you’re 5 again. Crack an egg into the middle.

2. On the top, drizzle 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt.

3. Using a fork, start to cut the egg into the flour. Do your best. It’s going to be a mess.

4. You’ll probably need to add some water in order to get it all to mix up.You’ll need somewhere between 2 and 4 Tbs of water, added 1 Tbs at a time, as needed.

5. Keep mixing (feel free to use your fingers to knead if that sounds easier) until the dough forms a ball. I’m told that you don’t want to over-work the dough. Once it forms a ball, it’s done; don’t keep kneading. It should be pliable, but not sticky.

6. Take half of the dough ball, and roll it out. The thinner the better, as the noodles will absorb water and swell slightly when you cook them.

7. Using a pastry cutter (a pizza cutter works just as well!), cut your dough into noodles of desired shape and size.

8. Cook your noodles! No need to let them dry, drop them straight into a pot of boiling water or soup. The noodles only need 3 to 5 minutes to cook all the way through, so if you’re making soup, you can add them at the very last minute.

Good luck!

I wanna know: Have you ever tried making your own noodles? Do you have any advice for me?

P.S. Many thanks to Kurt for sharing his recipe and technique with me! This is based on his mad skills.