ffwD: Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach (and Mushrooms)

This better be the most delicious risotto I’ve ever tasted. This was my thought when I annoyingly tossed the 2-pound bag of arborio rice into my grocery cart. Exasperated, I repeated the sentiment when I noticed that the price of this 2-pound bag was $5.99!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m Filipino and have been raised eating jasmine rice. The white sticky rice that literally costs $10 for a 20-pound bag. Jasmine rice was such a staple in our family that my mother bought me a rice cooker and a bag of rice when I first moved into my own apartment. Never mind that I had nowhere to sit or anything to eat the rice with. So, for me, to pay six dollars for a different kind of rice just for one recipe made my blood boil a bit. Hence the statement: This better be the most delicious risotto I’ve ever tasted.

Now, I understand this isn’t traditional risotto, and to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by this rice dish. It was creamy and cheesy, just as Dorie promised. And, it had an earthy, hearty flavor from the spinach and sliced mushrooms I added. It wasn’t as garlicky as I expected, but it could have been masked from the additional shredded Gruyere I added on top once the rice was spooned into my serving dish. Having never made “risotto” before, I was quite shocked by the sheer volume of food resulting from only a cup of arborio rice and a bag of wilted spinach. I have plenty of leftovers and will be sharing much of it with my office. I must say that I’m so pleased with this dish that I’ll probably be making it several more times until the 2-pound bag is finished!

To see how other bloggers fared with this “risotto”, check out French Fridays with Dorie where we make recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.

51 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Food,Photography & France
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 08:35:22

    That’s going to be one of my wife’s favourites. Very good comfort food.

  2. JamieAnne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:03:25

    This looks great! I’ve never made risotto.

    I’m feeling your pain on the expensive rice. I usually by brown rice or plain old white rice.๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:05:30

    Is it sad I think $5.99 for two pounds is good! Also, this story sounds familiar. It’s a good one though. Your risotto looks just fine to me! Very fine indeed.

  4. spicegirlfla
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:16:56

    I love, love, love risotto! It’s my top comfort food and your dish looks so vibrant healthy with all that green spinach!! I’m glad you were pleased and happy with your rice purchase!!!

  5. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:19:07

    I’m shocked at the price of that arborio too, and simply used red rice. I’ve never cooked risotto before this recipe and like you, was amazed at how much volume I got out of one cup! It was delicious though, glad you didn’t waste that $5.99.

  6. Eileen
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:34:18

    Yay! I”m glad you weren’t disappointed. I hadn’t thought about it before, but you’re right. This really did make a whole lot of food.

  7. Cher
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:42:27

    Nope – you got an okay deal on the rice.
    This dish heats up really well, so I am sure everyone you are sharing with will enjoy…

  8. Three-Cookies
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:53:58

    Hahaha, glad it didn’t make your blood boil. There is such a huge difference in price

  9. Peggy
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:59:57

    I’m with you on the price of the rice! I definitely grew up with those big bags of jasmine rice myself! But glad that all worked out – the risotto looks great =)

  10. Ronda
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 10:10:10

    Here in Minneapolis you could have gone to the Wedge and bought the arborio rice in the bulk section. I am glad that it turned out that you liked it. It does sound mighty tasty. I think I might have to make it next week.

  11. Life is Full
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 10:50:48

    Glad you liked the dish so it’s all good!๐Ÿ™‚ You can make other types of risotto and even casseroles. I store my arborio rice in the fridge because they can go rancid unlike jasmine rice.

  12. Krissy
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 10:53:39

    Nice work…and I’m jealous of mushrooms. My Frolicking Night Owl daughter used mushrooms and it made my mouth water just to listen to her talk about her rice. And I love the part about your mother buying you rice. I have a daughter who married into an Asian family, and every time she sees her mother-in-law, that sweet woman sends 100# of rice home with my daughter…never wants that cute little family to go hungry. And they eat very little rice. So, the neighborhood is given rice and that’s a nice thing too.

  13. smartfoodandfit
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 10:55:22

    Today is cold and overcast in MI and this is the perfect comfort food today! Great combination of flavors!

  14. Ryan
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 11:04:36

    This looks like perfect cheesy comfort food! Great job on the risotto!

  15. Mary
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 11:28:27

    Ohhhhh – I think it looks worth the price! Delicious – I LOVE risotto – and the flavors here are delish!
    Mary

  16. saffronandhoney
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 11:40:50

    That looks yummy and gooey good! I’ll try this recipe out a little later in the fall, I think. I like the earthy flavors that you described!

  17. Louanne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 11:51:37

    Yum! I can just imagine how delicious this tastes!

  18. Pachecopatty
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 12:00:54

    I love jasmine rice, that’s my favorite and the kind I usually buy so I understand how hard it must have been to break down and buy this expensive small bag of Italian rice! That’s great it worked out you enjoyed it and will make it again, it sure looks yummy with the spinach;-)

  19. Liz
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 12:23:39

    Oh, so glad you liked this one, too! I love the idea of mushrooms…and I think some extra garlic would have been wonderful, too. Glad you took the plunge and tried the arborio rice.

  20. ceciliag
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 12:32:19

    You did well there.. Do you have any rice left over? c

  21. Elin
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 12:41:02

    Yours looks so creamy and rich๐Ÿ™‚ drooling now. I lessen the cream, cheese and butter so mine is not that creamy though and I baked them in bell peppers. It was excellent too๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Jessica of My Baking Heart
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 13:57:16

    You had me at mushrooms! Your rice looks amazing – so glad you were happy with it.๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Confessions of a Culinary Diva
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 19:45:34

    Happy to hear it was worth trying new rice! It is surprising how much you can get out of one cup. Trader Joes also sells arborio rice at a decent price if you have one in your area.

    Happy French Friday!

  24. betsy
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 21:11:57

    There’s a world of rice out there. Glad to hear you liked the end results with this one. If you’ve never made it before, you should try “real risotto” with some of the remaining rice, just for the experience. It’s a whole different process from Dorie’s French way. Yours looks rich and creamy!

  25. Jay
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 21:32:06

    very interesting recipe…sounds yumm n healthy..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  26. Grumpy Grateful Mom
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 21:35:38

    That looks delicious! I’ve always been scared to make risotto because all of the cooking shows say it’s so hard. Maybe I’ll have to give it a try.

  27. Clarkie @ Beloved Green
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 22:49:03

    I feel the same way about pricey ingredients. It is so hard to justify the cost sometimes. It is a great thing that you liked it though!

  28. Elaine
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 23:20:05

    So worth the $5.99, huh?! I felt exactly the same way you did when I saw the price of Arborio. I have never paid that much for rice before! Your dish looks wonderful and the extra gruyere and mushrooms sound delicious.

  29. sanyaliving
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 05:24:28

    That’s funny! I can get kinda stubborn myself about things so I can totally relate to what you’re saying!!
    But it did turn out pretty good and your version sounds and looks great!

  30. Alice
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 08:38:56

    Hahaha, being Japanese, I can relate! But I love to make risotto!!! This was delicious and its nice how much it makes, for as much as the rice costs!๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Parsley Sage
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 10:50:57

    BWA HA! This post is too funny๐Ÿ™‚ As an Italian, I could have told you that you were in for a real treat! I love risotto, and one with spinach and mushrooms sounds heavenly! I’m sure your coworkers will love it too.

  32. Miri Leigh
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 12:13:27

    This risotto looks fabulous– I can’t wait to try it out!

  33. Laural @ Being Healthier
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 13:12:34

    oh i had this risotto at The Biltmore and I asked if I could talk to the Chef after tasting it. He gave me the recipe and explained how to cook it- it was a smoked corn risotto. to die for! I love your version – creamy cheesy garlicky is one top notch combo for tons of things!

  34. ambrosiana
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 13:57:16

    I think risotto is one of the most delicious dishes on earth! Ot is creamy, gooey, cheese, and great for chilly weather! Risotto with spinach and mushrooms is so comfort food! Brava!!!

  35. Tasty Mayhem
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 16:51:08

    The prices are outrageous, I agree with the commenter though that if you have a place like Whole Foods, or another store that sells it bulk, you can sometimes get a better deal. I still buy the imported stuff occasionally; we are lucky to have an Italian grocery here that has decent prices.

  36. Tasty Mayhem
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 16:51:35

    Oh, and it looks like yours turned out wonderful!!

  37. Frankly Entertaining
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 16:55:41

    I’d be interested in seeing you do this recipe with the jasmine rice, just to hear the comparison.

  38. peachkins
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 18:42:04

    Looks likeI just might have to do this recipe too. Bookmarking for future meals. Thanks!

  39. Cakelaw
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 19:23:11

    This one was a goodie so I am glad that you made it. I am not sharing my leftovers with work – I am eating them!

  40. Ashley@bakerbynature
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 21:03:53

    This looks hearty and flavorful; I’ve always been a big fan of risotto, despite it’s steeper rice price.

  41. cooking varieties
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 09:23:48

    hi yummy chunklet, so many fans of your risotto here.. i guess, you have to pay more to get better results and taste. . i may be wrong here, cos i have never made any before

  42. Ameena
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 10:41:24

    I love love love risotto…because I love all things rice! But I don’t love the time and effort spent making it. If I were a bit closer I’d come by for your leftovers.๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Maris (In Good Taste)
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 14:55:57

    This looks so hearty and satisfying. Love it!

  44. Simply Life
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 15:15:57

    Risotto really is amazing and this looks like the perfect combo of ingredients to make it with!

  45. Yuri
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 19:25:44

    Yum! Sure looks delicious and creamy… I gotta catch up with you guys!

  46. oneexpatslife
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 08:23:09

    Too funny, I too occasionally get annoyed when I buy some random new ingredient or spice (especially spices, why can’t they make those darn jars smaller!) so I know the feeling. Happy to hear that you enjoyed it in the end. And since you presumably have some leftover arborio, I would suggest that you tackle a real risotto recipe. I know that it has a reputation for being difficult, but I honestly think it’s not that bad, just time consuming because you really can’t leave it alone. Not just that, but there is so much you can do with risotto in terms of add ins or toppings.

  47. kitchenbelleicious
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 08:38:05

    traditional risotto or not- i think it looks so yummy- chessy goodness with the spinach and rice sound like a winner in my book!

  48. Miriam Barton
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 09:55:07

    The ingredients make this sound delicious๐Ÿ™‚, Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  49. Kathy
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 14:52:40

    Your rice looks great, so glad you enjoyed it! I thought this rice was delicious..I ate it for lunch two days in a row.

  50. Beth Michelle
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 07:08:57

    This looks so amazing. I love everything in here. Will definitely be trying this.

  51. kankana
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 20:01:12

    This is making me hungry. It has all the ingredients I love to eat.. great combination of flavor!

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