Lemony Risotto with Mascarpone and Spinach

Lemony Risotto with Spinach and Marscarpone

Today I’m sharing this recipe with the Tuesday’s Recipe Swap link-up hosted by Kate @ Green Fashionista and Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis and the Tasty Tuesdays link-up.  This was one of our meatless meals that I made awhile ago for dinner.  I’m sharing it now though, since the weather is getting cooler and risotto feels like a fall food.  Although risotto can sometimes feel heavy and filling to me (since you are basically eating a big plate of rice!) the lemon flavor helped make it feel less so.  I added spinach to the recipe since we had some leftover, and extra veggies never hurt! Plus, I served it with some roasted broccoli.  My son helped with the lemon zesting and stirring of this risotto.  The kids ate this, although my son complained that it was “too lemony.”  He then proceeded to eat a lemonade Outshine bar for dessert after taking forever to finish his risotto….go figure!

Lemony Risotto with Mascarpone and Spinach
Recipe slightly adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray

6 cups vegetable stock
2 lemons–1 peeled (yellow part only), 1 zested and juiced (about 1 1/2 tsp. zest and 4 tbsp. juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
large shallot, finely chopped
large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
5 cups spinach
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 rounded tbsp. mascarpone cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
A few leaves of basil, torn

1. In a medium pot, heat the stock and the lemon peel over medium-low. Cover and keep warm.

2. In a  large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the shallot and garlic and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice; stir until coated, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine; stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add about 2 cups warm stock and cook, stirring frequently, until almost evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add 2 more cups stock and cook, stirring frequently, until almost evaporated, about 6 minutes more. Add 1 cup stock and the lemon zest; stir until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Taste the rice. If it’s tender but still has a bite to it, stir in the lemon juice, mascarpone and 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add the spinach, stirring to wilt.  Season and stir in some of the remaining stock if the risotto isn’t saucy enough. Divide among bowls; garnish with basil and more grated cheese.


Mexican Rice


In our house we eat a lot of Mexican food.  It’s a cuisine that I know the kids like and will eat.  Tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos….they love ’em all!  Sometimes I’ll serve the main dish with a salad or some veggies and sometimes I’ll also make rice to go with it.  The original recipe for this Mexican Rice called for a cup of corn, 1/2 cup of frozen peas and 1/2 cup diced carrots.  I hate having small portions of leftover ingredients which I never end up using!  So instead of having leftover unused portions of veggies, I bought a box of frozen mixed vegetables.  So, this rice might of had some string beans in it, which I wasn’t going to pick out!   This is a pretty quick and easy side dish that the kids enjoyed.  It definitely beats those boxed rice mixes!

Mexican Rice
Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 (10-ounce) box frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1.   Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook approximately 2-3 minutes, until onions become translucent.  Stir in rice until toasted, about 2 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato sauce and vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Stir in frozen vegetables, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes.

3.  Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, if desired.



Ben’s Cognac Risotto


We belong to a Supper Club with two other couples.  Each month we rotate hosting duties and each of the six members cooks a dish that fits that particular month’s theme.  We end up eating six awesome dishes each time we meet!  January’s Supper Club meeting was at our house,  with the theme being “alcohol.”  Each person chose a different alcohol and had to make a dish using their booze of choice.  The Mr. chose cognac and made this risotto. Risotto is a particular favorite of ours that requires a bit of time and attention to make well.  The combination of flavors in this dish really complimented each other and tasted amazing.  Supper Club was a perfect opportunity to make this recipe since this is not a dish that the kids would enjoy.  They both really dislike mushrooms even though are exposed to them every time it’s in a meal at home. For us, though, the umami of the mushrooms brought an extra comforting dimension to the richness of the chewy rice and cheese. The flavor of the cognac wasn’t overpowering and was one that we usually wouldn’t think of adding. Alcohol isn’t on our regular ingredient list for food, but it should be. Also, we probably should have made more risotto. There was only one lonely serving in the fridge after everyone left. We would definitely make this again.

Ben’s Cognac Risotto
Recipe very slightly adapted from Foodnetwork.com, courtesy of The Gambaro Family


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 15 small Portobello mushrooms– cleaned, trimmed and quartered
  • 2/3 cups cognac
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 7 cups vegetable stock (we used Better Than Bouillon, which we featured recently in this “Friday Favorites” post)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1 3/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add cognac, bring to a boil, and reduce the liquid by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add cream and simmer 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with the oil in a deep, heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and oil. Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Wait until liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more. This process will take about 20 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.

Stir in the mushroom mixture and cheese. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve garnished with parsley.