Make Dinner Easy With This 15-Minute "Risotto" Recipe

Photo: Courtesy of Impatient Foodie.
I once was asked to be a guest judge on Iron Chef and it was SO MUCH FUN, but OMG did I learn the meaning of “too much of a good thing” that day. The secret ingredient was mascarpone cheese, meaning that it had to be in every dish served to us (the judges). With three chefs cooking three courses each (plus an amuse-bouche, I believe), that totaled twelve dishes with mascarpone cheese. By the end of the day I felt like my blood had turned into cheese. I swear, my skin smelled like cheese, and my hair felt like cheese. Maybe I shouldn't have devoured the entire dish for every course, but what can I say? Live and learn. I walked home in a foggy haze and dropped onto the bed belly side down and fell into a coma-like sleep. I was not able to eat mascarpone for two full years.

But, mascarpone came back into my life because of a dark, damp, cold day. I really craved a risotto, but obviously, I am way too impatient (and lazy) to cook it. So, as an experiment, I grabbed some mascarpone, some spinach, orzo, and lemons to see if I could make a thick, yummy dish that took less than 5 minutes to make. I also grabbed salmon to get in some protein. When I got home to test this recipe for the first time I was seriously AMAZED how quickly it all came together. In about 15 minutes, I had a meal that looked and tasted divine. My hubby loved it so much, he asked for seconds, which meant I had to cook up a whole new batch, but the recipe is so easy that I happily obliged. This really is the ultimate Impatient Foodie dinner.

As a small side note, this is not “my” method to cook salmon. I read about it somewhere, but I can’t remember where… It’s amazing, fast, and really works! 

Related: Salmon Pate

8-Minute Salmon With Lazy Man's "Risotto"
Serves 1, double for 2

1 filet of salmon
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 cup orzo
Big handful of spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan + more to taste
1 tbsp marscapone
1/2 - 1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 juice from a lemon + lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Hazelnuts, crushed and toasted

1. Before you start cooking, take your salmon out of the fridge to bring to room temperature. Pat it with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

2. Put water to boil.

3. Crush up some hazelnuts for your garnish and set aside.

4. Put spinach at the bottom of a colander and leave in the sink.

5. Place the coconut oil in skillet over high heat and let it melt. When skillet is hot, add the salmon skin side down and turn down heat to medium. Leave cooking for 3-4 minutes then flip over the salmon. Turn off heat and allow the salmon to cook, about 2-3 more minutes.

If your salmon filet is very thick, once you flip it over, leave the heat on for about 1 minute and then turn it off and allow the filet to rest in the hot pan for another 2-3 minutes. I personally like my salmon on the rare side, but if it’s too rare for you, just turn the heat back on to medium and cook to your liking.

6. Meanwhile, boil the orzo. Drain the orzo over the spinach and shake a few times to ensure water is drained out.

7. In a medium-large bowl, combine the orzo, spinach, 1 tablespoon of mascarpone, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, Parmesan, and juice from 1/2 a lemon and very mix well. Add more olive oil, if desired.

8. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon zest to taste.

9. Quickly toast your crushed hazelnuts, taking care not to burn them.

10. Spoon orzo onto a plate and top off with a salmon filet.

11. Garnish with the hazelnuts and some lemon zest. Serve immediately.

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