What do you do when you don’t have a dinner plan? This creamy lemon spinach risotto is easy and delicious, and it’s quicker than pizza delivery!
What do you do when you just can’t bring yourself to make whatever meal you’ve planned? In my house, breakfast for dinner (better known as “brinner”) and risotto are the order of the day.
That’s right, you read that correctly. We make risotto when we don’t know what else to make for dinner. Risotto has this weird reputation as being fussy food, probably because you have to stir it a lot to get the starch to release from it. It isn’t fast food, it’s easy food. I’ve written about it several times. It’s a little bit of an obsession.
Another thing I’m a fan of? Anything lemon flavored. Desserts, drinks, seasonings…I love lemon. And lemon + creamy combo? Yes please. It’s definitely comfort food for me. If you have some spinach or other greens (chard, kale, arugula) withering in your produce drawer, why not throw them in there to add a little nutritional value, texture, and flavor? I can never seem to use up all the spinach that I buy, so I love to mix leftover spinach into pasta or rice dishes.
Let me go off on a rabbit trail here for a minute. Once, before Chattavore existed, Philip and I went to an Italian chain restaurant for dinner one night. I ordered a risotto dish and was so irritated that it was drowning in Alfredo sauce. Risotto is creamy on its own; that’s just the nature of the dish, what with all the starch in the rice. I’m breaking my own rule here, though. I wanted this dish to have some dairy creaminess, so I stirred in some heavy cream. Half and half would work too. You just need a little bit, but it definitely gives this lemon spinach risotto a little extra body and flavor.
So, no. This creamy lemon spinach risotto isn’t “fast” food. However, if you consider how long it would take to put your shoes on and head to a drive-thru, or how long you’d have to wait on your pizza delivery, it kind of casts it in a different light, right? And it’s just so darned delicious!
Shared on Meal Plan Monday on Southern Plate and the Weekend Potluck on The Country Cook!
Yield: 2-4 servings
10 minPrep Time:
30 minCook Time:
40 minTotal Time:
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup uncooked arborio or other medium-grain rice (see note)
- 1 cup dry white wine (I use vermouth)
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- salt, to taste
- In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer, then lower the heat to low to keep warm.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the butter to the saucepan and melt. Add the rice. Cook and stir for one minute. Pour in the wine and the lemon juice and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine has absorbed into the rice.
- Add the chicken broth a half cup at a time, stirring constantly after each addition. Once each addition has been completely absorbed, add another half cup of the broth.
- Once all of the liquid has been absorbed, add the spinach and the heavy cream or half and half. Stir until the spinach has wilted and the cream has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and salt to taste.
- Serve immediately with grated cheese for topping.
Most people use arborio rice, but I buy another medium-grain rice in my grocery stores Hispanic section. It is called "Arroz Rico" and comes in a bright yellow bag. It is much less expensive than arborio rice!