Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto

I love trying different combinations of risotto. The possibilities are truly endless. Most of the time, I stick with my staple risotto: Lemon Asparagus Risotto. This is absolutely to die for, but it’s more of a spring/summer dish when the asparagus is at freshest. Since we are in the middle of December, I thought I would try something refreshing yet still in season. 

For this particular risotto, I used vegetable broth, which created a “dirty” risotto, similar to the color that would come from using red wine in your risotto. I normally use chicken stock when making risotto (especially the Lemon Asparagus Risotto) because it does not alter the color of the rice. I thought I would use vegetable stock this time to try something new, and I had it in my pantry 🙂 

Usually, risotto features freshly grated parmesan cheese, but I decided to change things up and use goat cheese. I would say goat cheese is probably my favorite kind of cheese; I love coming up with different (and unexpected!) ways to use it in recipes. It’s great in salads, on pizzas and even as a dip or spread for an appetizer. But for this recipe, I love the way the goat cheese combined with the spinach that was only slightly wilted and created a creamy and wonderful weekend meal!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto

1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 bag of fresh spinach
½ medium sized yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces goat cheese
32 ounces vegetable stock
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by heating vegetable stock in pan over medium low heat. You want the vegetable broth to be warm when you begin to add it to the Arborio rice. Sauté the yellow onion in extra virgin olive oil on medium heat, add minced garlic, season with salt and pepper; cook until onion and garlic become fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in Arborio rice to coat the rice in olive oil, onions and garlic. Continue to stir for 1 minute so rice does not stick to pan. Add vegetable broth to the rice, onion and garlic mixture 1-2 ladles at a time. Continue to stir rice until liquid evaporates. Repeat the 1-2 ladles step until the rice begins to look plump and you’ve reached your desired tenderness (it took about 10-15 minutes to become al dente and I used almost an entire package of vegetable stock). Take the mixture off the heat and add the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the goat cheese, stir until combined. Finally, add the butter and stir until combined and a creamy consistency is achieved.  

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