This Mushroom Spinach Pecan Risotto is a fantastic vegetarian main dish that’s naturally gluten free. The mushrooms and pecans add a fantastic meatiness and richness to the dish.
It’s perfect for holiday meals like New Year’s Eve, Christmas or Valentine’s day (it’s a nice romantic dish that isn’t difficult to make), and it’s great for a nice meal after work on any weeknight.
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Risotto from a magazine clipping
This is a fabulous savory combination of sautéed mushrooms, pecans, Parmesan cheese, and fresh spinach leaves. You’ll make this dish again and again. It’s perfect with a chopped salad and crusty bread.
I first made this risotto in 2005 from a recipe I cut out of a magazine. It looks like maybe it came from Cooking Light. I’ve made a few changes to the recipe, but it’s pretty near the original. I tried adding blue cheese to the dish once, but I think it overpowered the rice a bit. Maybe I’ll keep trying on that one, because I think it sounds delicious, kind of like my blue cheese sauce with spinach and walnuts.
I used to love magazines, and I would cook from them all the time. I would cut out the recipes and paste them into a 3 ring binder. Occasionally I go back and look through those recipes.
I came across this one and had to remake it. It’s so good! Full flavored. Full of yummy goodies. A great vegetarian main dish. Or, perfect as a side dish for meat eaters.
It’s easy to make too. Just Toast the pecans in a dry skillet.
Remove the pecans, and wipe the skillet out. Saute the mushrooms in the same skillet.
Remove the mushrooms, and again in the same skillet, cook the rice, shallot, and garlic.
Add in the wine and broth. Stirring lots, and adding the broth about 1/2 cup at a time until it’s all absorbed.
What is risotto?
It’s a creamy, warm, comforting dish made from rice. The rice is cooked for a long time letting the starch develop in the dish, making it thick and rich.
And, although risotto takes a bit of time to cook, it isn’t hard at all. It’s really pretty easy to make, actually. Just a bunch of stirring.
Unlike other rice dishes that have you simmer water and add rice to cook, risotto is cooked slowly by adding a fraction of a cup of liquid at a time to the rice. This process allows the grains to release their starch, creating a rich, velvety sauce with soft but slightly al dente grains.
Making risotto also requires you to just do one thing at a time. Stir the rice, and add the broth. That’s it. No checking Facebook, no going to fold laundry. It’s actually quite nice to just do one thing.
What is Arborio Rice?
Arborio rice is an excellent choice for risotto. It’s a short grain rice with plump, pearl-like white grains that absorb lots of liquid while they cook, releasing their starch, resulting in a warm, creamy thick dish that you’ll love.
You should be able to find it in a well-stocked grocery store on the rice aisle.
Avoid long-grain rice; it doesn’t have enough starch to make a creamy risotto.
Can I use something other than wine?
If you don’t cook with wine, simply replace the ½ cup of wine with ½ cup of broth. The risotto will still taste great.
The meaty part of this meatless meal
This risotto is a great meatless meal, relying on mushrooms and pecans instead of meat or chicken for substance, protein, and minerals.
Mushrooms are a great meat substitute, although they are not packed with protein, they are, however, rich sources of vitamins and minerals like selenium, zinc, vitamin B1, B2, B5, B6 and B12. Moreover they are full of substances with antioxidant and do not contain fat and carbohydrates. They are the only vegetable that contains vitamin D naturally as a result of their exposure to sunlight.
And, swapping pecans for meat also means added fiber, which you don’t get in animal protein, and more ”good” monounsaturated fats.
What do I do with leftover risotto
Keep any leftovers in the fridge in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days. As it sits, the risotto will thicken because of the starch in the rice.
I typically reheat the risotto in the microwave.
You can also reheat it on the stove. If the risotto is too thick, add a splash of broth or water to the pan, as needed, to loosen it up.
Avoid freezing risotto. Cooked rice can become hard when frozen, and the texture can become grainy.
What kind of mushrooms should I use?
Feel free to mix up the mushrooms in this recipe.
I suggest cremini mushrooms, which are the little brown ones, sometimes called baby bellas or Italian mushrooms.
Or use white button mushrooms, the really common ones.
But, if you want to get fancy or exotic, by all means, jump right in! I love dishes with lots of different mushrooms. I think it adds flavor and complexity.
But, it also costs more to use wild mushrooms. Either way, it’s all good.
Be sure to check out these other risotto recipes
Salmon Risotto – It’s perfect for a romantic date night, or for enjoying with a small dinner party of friends;
Corn and Red Pepper Risotto – Creamy risotto with sweet corn, tangy roasted red bell pepper, and Parmesan cheese;
Caramelized Carrot Risotto – a great spring dish that’s lightly sweet from carrots that have been cooked perfectly.
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Mushroom Spinach Pecan Risotto Recipe
Mushroom Spinach Pecan Risotto
- 1 ¼ cups pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided use
- 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms or use button, shiitake (stem removed, or any wild mushrooms)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 ½ cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 ¼ cups Arborio rice
- 1 medium shallot thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large dry saucepan cook and stir the pecans over medium heat for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove from pan. Cool slightly and coarsely chop; set aside.
- In the same pan heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring the vegetable broth to boiling; reduce heat and simmer. Remove mushrooms from pan; set aside. Wipe pan clean.
- In the large saucepan heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat; add rice, shallot, and garlic. Cook just until rice is lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Slowly add ½ cup dry white wine to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Add ½ cup of the broth to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add remaining broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until broth has been absorbed and rice is slightly creamy and tender. The time can vary, but roughly 25-30 minutes of simmering.
- Stir in spinach, cheese, pepper, mushrooms, and pecans until combined. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.