Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spinach Risotto

Although my usually MO is to use whole grains pretty exclusively, I make an occasional exception for risotto, which really can't be made with any variety of brown rice (well, it can, but it just wouldn't be risotto). Although I do sometimes cheat and make barley risotto, that is really a misnomer, as well. The only suitable grain for risotto is arborio rice (and a few other less available, lesser known rice varieties), and that is, unfortunately, a white rice.

Spinach risotto, I think, is a great way to make a warming, comforting winter dish that doesn't rely on fresh, warm-weather produce. I use frozen, chopped spinach, and it works out quite nicely. This could be a meal of it's own, or a side dish.

Spinach Risotto
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. frozen, chopped spinach, well drained
1 c. arborio rice (unwashed!)
2 quarts veggie stock
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. grated parmesan
2 Tbsps. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the veggie in a saucepan until boiling. Remove from heat.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent. Add spinach, and saute for 2 minutes. Add rice, and toast until rice begins to become translucent. Do not brown the rice! Add enough stock to almost cover the rice. Stirring frequently, allow the stock to absorb. Add the basil. Once stock is almost absorbed, add another 1-2 ladles of stock. Continue this process until the rice has absorbed enough to still have some bite, but not be hard. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. After the final addition of stock has been absorbed, there should be enough liquid left to make a somewhat thin sauce (which will firm up once off the heat). Remove from heat, and add the butter and cheese, stirring vigorously to create a smooth, creamy sauce. Add the parsley and stir to incorporate. Serve immediately, with additional parmesan as a garnish.

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