Ever since I first started cooking, I’ve always cherished a secret hope that one day I would make risotto. I’ve had it once before, at a restaurant in Northern California. I remember happily devouring my plate (of food), while my friend sat across from me and regaled me with tales of her Venice risotto experiences. Maybe I was projecting since she kept telling me how delicious those risottos were, but the entire time I was eating, I kept thinking this is so good.
Risottos always seemed so intimidating to me, though. Every time I clicked on a risotto recipe and scanned the instructions, I would promptly close the tab. As much as I longed to lounge against the stove stirring a pot of arborio rice and sipping on a glass of red wine…well, I don’t often have that kind of time.
Oh yeah, and also I don’t drink. So there goes that daydream.
A few days ago, I came across a spinach risotto recipe that looked doable. And also, healthy, which is something I don’t see often in risotto recipes. No butter, a reasonable amount of cheese, and lots of spinach. And a cooking time that didn’t seem too awful. Of course, I had to make it, and if you’ve read this week’s wigeon you already know I love it. Basically, you should make it too, and here’s how.
Spinach Risotto, adapted from Epicurious.
- 6-ounce bag fresh spinach
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/3 cup shredded or freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Turn on stove (always my least favorite step, as my stove likes to make ‘I’m going to blow up any day now’ sounds), and heat oil in a large pan. Toss in your garlic and onions, and cook over moderately low heat until softened, stirring frequently. Add rice, and stir until everything is coated in oil.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken broth and water. Microwave for 1:30.
- Increase stove to moderately high heat. Add 3/4 cup of water-broth-mixture to pan, stirring until it has been absorbed. Continue adding broth in 3/4 cup increments, letting it absorb each time. Increase or decrease the heat to keep the risotto at a strong simmer. Taste as you go, until the rice is at your desired consistency. The original recipe said 18 minutes, but it took me closer to 25.
- Separate spinach into 3 or 4 handfuls, and stir into risotto one handful at a time, letting it wilt before adding the next batch. Remove pan from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the cheese. Enjoy!
Have you eaten risotto before? Do you typically cook it leisurely with a glass of red wine in hand, or scurry around the kitchen trying to find measuring cups and ingredients as I did?