I love this dish… to me, this dish is comfort food at its finest and easiest.
You know me, I make risotto from a box, but I never eat it straight as is… I always embellish the risotto from Archer Farms with lots of flavor and ingredients. I actually started making this risotto a looooooooooong time ago, more or less 10 years. But I used to make it with a Lipton’s Creamy Garlic and Parmesan Risotto mix. Unfortunately, that product was discontinued… but now I can continue the legacy buying rice at Target every time I travel.
I first learned the basics of flavors for this recipe from something I had read in Cooking Light magazine… I saw the recipe but I said to myself I would never stand in front of a stove stirring rice for 20-25 minutes. I love how this tastes… and no one who has had it has ever asked or noticed that the base is from a box, because the flavors are so restaurant like.
I do have to warn you, this recipe is addictive… and with the amount of cheese, it is a bit fattening. But for special occasions, to celebrate others or yourself, this recipe is easy, reliable and most importantly, delicious.
SMOKED GOUDA AND SPINACH RISOTTO
1 box of Archer Farms 4-Cheese Risotto mix 1 ¼ cup cut-leaf spinach, defrosted and squeezed, but not too much 8-10 button mushrooms, cleaned well and sliced ½ a round of smoked Gouda cheese 3 oz of cream cheese 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, grated ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced (optional, but highly recommended)
- In a large pot, bring 2 ½ cup of water to a boil… we’re basically preparing the risotto according to packaging directions… when the water boils, dump in the rice packet and the seasonings packet. It might seem the pot is too large, but the mixture will bulk up with the cheeses and mushrooms, specially.
- While that cooks a bit, you have some time to slice mushrooms, slice the sun-dried tomatoes and grate the cheeses. Even though the spinach I buy is cut-leaf spinach, I usually run my kitchen scissors through it to make sure the pieces of spinach are manageable when eating.
- When the rice is partly done, add the spinach to the pot. Mix well and cover partially so the rice comes again to temperature quickly. After the rice has come to temperature, add the cheeses one by one… I usually start with the cream cheese, then the Gouda, then the Fontina and then the Pecorino. Mix well to help the cheeses melt into the rice/spinach mixture.
- When the cheeses have melted well, but the sauce is still runny, add the mushroom slices and the sun-dried tomatoes, if using. Mix everything well and let the mushrooms cook a bit.
- When you feel the rice is done, cover the pot and let it stand there for about 10-15 minutes.
While you’re waiting, you can make a side salad or some baked plantains… the sauce will thicken a bit after waiting a little while and it will be at a nicer temperature where you can really enjoy the cheese and spinach flavors. If it’s too hot, you won’t taste anything…
This recipe reheats very well. All I do for the sauce to return to its creamy consistency is to heat it any leftovers up with a bit of cream, half and half or even milk. I reheat it on the stove top and in a few minutes it’s creamy as it was the night before.