Here you go! I’ve made dinner easy for you – all made in one pot, packed full of nutrition (A grade nutrition rating) with plenty of creamy sauce but without a single drop of cream!
What’s your position on fresh vs frozen spinach?
I love using fresh spinach in salads. But for dishes like this, when the spinach is cooked down and stirred into things, it just doesn’t make sense to me to use fresh spinach. You’d need at least 5 bunches (probably more!) of fresh spinach to make this. OR 1 box of frozen spinach.
So for cost and efficiency reasons, I use frozen spinach in this. 🙂
Besides, don’t you totally buy into the whole “snap frozen” thing? I know I do!!
So with a box of frozen spinach, mushrooms and a handful of pantry staples, you can get dinner on the table in just over 20 minutes. Seriously! It’s that easy.
Did I mention this is all made in one pan? Here it is, straight off the stove.
Oh wait, all those mushrooms are in the way so you can’t see how CREAMY it is! Here, I’ve shoved them out of the way for you so you can see how lovely and saucy it is!
Psst reminder: no cream! No cream!
As with all pastas, the sauce does get sucked into the orzo/risoni pretty quickly. So when it’s ready, holler for your family to get to the table asap so they can eat it while it’s nice and fresh and saucy. (That’s how the Italian mama’s operate. Follow their lead!)
You will be surprised at the nutrition in this. With an entire box of spinach and 600g/20 oz of mushrooms, this has an A- nutrition grade rating (see below for more information). I’ve also provided some tips below for how to pack even more vegetables into this!
Dinner’s up! – Nagi
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1.2 lb / 600g mushrooms, sliced (I used button mushrooms)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1½ cups milk (I used low fat)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1½ cups orzo / risoni (Note 1)
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 8oz / 250g frozen spinach (1 box), thawed, excess water squeezed out
- Extra parmesan cheese
- Finely chopped parsley
- Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan over high heat (if you aren't using non stick, use more oil).
- Add the mushrooms and cook until softened (around 3 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and melt the butter in the pan. Add garlic and onion, and sauté until the onion becomes translucent - around 3 minutes.
- Add the flour, stir it in and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the milk and chicken broth and use a whisk to mix the butter flour mixture into the liquid.
- Increase heat to medium high. Add the orzo/risoni, salt and pepper, stir once, then put a lid on (Note 2). Bring it to a simmer, then leave it to cook for around 8 to 10 minutes or until the orzo/risoni is cooked but still slightly firm, and it is still quite saucy. Note: If you have a strong stove, turn it down slightly so it just simmers).
- While the orzo is cooking, break up the spinach into little pieces with your fingers.
- Remove the pan from the stove. Stir through the parmesan, spinach and cooked mushrooms. Check if more salt or pepper is required.
- Serve immediately, garnished with more parmesan and fresh finely chopped parsley, if desired.
2. If you don't have a lid for your fry pan (which I don't), use the lid of a pot larger than the pan or a large baking tray.
Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings. Tip: The calories can be reduced by increasing the amount of vegetables in this. Either add more mushrooms, or other vegetables (even the frozen bags of chopped vegetables – heated through – will work). That will fill this out so it will serve more people. 1 1/2 cups of extra cooked mushrooms / spinach will stretch this out to serve 5 and will reduce the calories by about 100 calories per serving down to around 440 calories per serving.