Weeknight Cooking

Baked Pasta Risotto with Peas, Mascarpone + Spinach

May 13, 2014

Every week, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

Today: A quick springtime risotto -- that isn't really risotto at all.

Spinach risotto from Food52

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This risotto isn’t a risotto at all, even though it conjures the same warmth and fullness of the creamiest bowls of rice I’ve had. As I was flipping through Sarah Copeland’s new vegetarian cookbook Feast, I was inspired by her spread of baked risottos and her reminder that it is indeed a fast food -- especially when adapted to be a bit faster here, by swapping pasta for grains. The best part is -- in certain agreement with Sarah and her options for risotto “toppers” -- that the flavors in this recipe can be tweaked as the seasons and your tastes change. Stick with the method and let your market inspire you.

Baked Pasta Risotto with Peas, Mascarpone + Spinach

Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup ancini de pepe, Israeli couscous, or orzo
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups warmed chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch fresh spinach, stems trimmed
1 cup peas (frozen and thawed)
1/4 cup mascarpone
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way. 

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute™ Meals grew into a cookbook that was published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.

Photo by Caroline Wright

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Before her diagnosis, Caroline wrote a book on cakes called Cake Magic!. She started developing a birthday cake using her gluten-free mix found in that book. Check out other recipes she’s developing for her new life—and the stories behind them—on her blog, The Wright Recipes. Her next book, Soup Club, is a collection of recipes she made for her underground soup club of vegan and grain-free soups she delivers every week to friends throughout Seattle's rainy winter.


Skiingstella June 30, 2015
I'm sorry to say...my husband and I found the flavors were really bland. The creaminess was wonderful but we felt that the dish was really "missing something"
MissMimi May 17, 2014
I'm guessing this would work with fregola--would it?
Gaia G. May 13, 2014
I love it. Simple, economic, fresh, and looks amazing. I cook alot with spinach and peas because I always have them on hand in my fridge or freezer, I will definitely be trying this recipe.