It’s been cold here in Melbourne lately and so it just happens that I have a tendency to eat more comfort foods. To me, comfort food is something that gives you the warm fuzzies but is also nourishing and good for you. So good that after eating it, you still feel good on the  inside too.  I consider risottos as part of my growing list of comfort foods because whenever I eat it I feel as if I’m wrapped in a thick blanket sitting in front of an open fire all curled up and cozy.

Risotto is not too difficult to make, but a little too over done and what you end up is a sludgy rice porridge. With risotto you want the rice grains to remain whole have have a good bite. The grains should be not broken or look like they have ‘peeled’ open.

If you simmer your risotto for without the lid on according to the instructions you will find that the stock evaporates quite fast and that the rice is somewhat less cooked that you would like it to be, while leaving a lid on will look the moisture and slow down the evaporation process. Adding food that requires more cooking time like uncooked chicken at the end could lead to raw meat when the risotto is finished, or adding vegetables like spinach too early can cause the spinach to completely break apart. It’s a mix of a bit of chemistry, some experience and a good deal of logic.

Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Taken from the Riviana arborio rice packet.

Difficulty: Moderate. Serving size: 4


  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock simmered
  • 2 cups button mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 grated parmesan cheese
  • chopped parsley
  • ground black pepper to season



  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy based saucepan
  2. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in arborio rice and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently (rice should coloured – slightly golden)
  4. Add wine and simmer to burn off the alcohol and let the flavour absorb into the rice.
  5. Stirring frequently, add 1 cup of stock and simmer until it almost completely dissolves.
  6. Add the mushrooms.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the stock or until the rick is just cooked.
  8. Adjust consistency with extra water/stock if required.
  9. Stir in parmesan, parsley and season with pepper. Add salt if absolutely required.

P.S: You can add more water, or reduce it until you get a consistency to your liking. Some people prefer their rissotto to be bathed in the soupy sauce like mixture, others prefer it with a little less.

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