Quick Mushroom & Spinach Brown Rice Risotto with Lemon

12 oz assorted mushrooms.  I used crimini and shiitake
1/2 C fresh spinach, washed and sliced into ribbons
8 scallions sliced into 1/2″ pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 C day old cooked but still firm short grain brown rice
1 1/2 – 2 C chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 C dry white wine
2 T butter
1/4 C parmesan cheese
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
chopped fresh Italian parsley to garnish (optional)
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the mushrooms into large slices. Sauté in half of the butter along with the scallions. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. After about 2-3 minutes, add in the garlic and sauté for about a minute more. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl. Add the rice to the empty pan and sauté for 5-8 minutes until it is very slightly toasty. Once it is ready, add back in the mushroom and scallion mixture, spinach, the lemon zest, and the white wine. Cook for about 30 seconds until the wine is nearly all evaporated. Next add in 1/2 C of the stock at a time, stirring all the while. Once most of the stock has evaporated, add in another 1/2 C. Add in enough stock so that the rice is quite plump and juicy and there is a slight sauce in the bottom of the pan. This should take about 10 minutes. Finish by adding in the cheese and remaining tablespoon of butter and the lemon juice. Remove from the heat and mix together. It should be slightly “gluey” from the cheese and starch from the rice. Top with the chopped fresh parsley and a few thinly sliced scallions.

Starting with already cooked brown rice cuts down the time in a major way, and makes the dish healthier (and tastier IMHO) than using white rice. The brown rice gives a nice nutty flavour which pairs well with the mushroom and a chewier texture that is really nice. This is a nice recipe to use up left over brown rice that has sat overnight in the fridge. When I made this I actually used freezed-dried spinach which rehydrates really well and is indistinguishable from in flavour and texture from fresh. You could also use pre-cooked (frozen) spinach, but make sure to drain it well before adding it to the rice.

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