June 25, 2010

Spinach Risotto

I remember it like it was yesterday, the first time I made this risotto. Using my mom’s copy of "Cooking for Madam", I set about making the complex rice dish, having only cooked by myself a handful of times, and ended up discovering a true calling.

I wish I had some ghastly, cautionary tale regarding that experience, but I honestly don’t. The risotto was delicious and only served to further propel me towards deeper and deeper foodie love. Reading the recipes and stories in that cookbook by Jackie Kennedy’s former personal chef solidified and intensified my love of cooking and my desire to become a chef. The idea of traveling the world and cooking for fabulous dinner parties and quiet get-togethers sounded too good to be true (and still kinda does). This book seriously started it all for me.

Who knows? Maybe this recipe will do something equally profound in your own life. Or maybe it’ll just be really yummy. Either way, it’s worth a shot!
Before starting anything actually rice-related, you’ll be chopping an onion and crying quietly to yourself because you don’t have any garlic.

Once you’ve recovered, heat a rather substantial amount of olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion until it’s softened and slightly browned.

After the onion has been sufficiently cooked, toss in some Arborio rice and stir to coat it thoroughly with the olive oil.

Now it’s time to add some white wine. For the amount specified in this recipe, using some of those little bottles is much more convenient that opening a regular bottle.

Once the wine has mostly cooked away, it’s time to add some chicken broth, which you already have waiting at the ready. Seeing as you’ll be adding the broth…ugh, I don’t like that word. Broth. It just sounds weird. I’m going to say “stock” from now on.

Anyway, you’ll be adding the stock in about one-cup increments, waiting for the rice to absorb it before adding more. For this reason, pour the chicken stock into a microwaveable container and heat until it’s warm, so it won’t reduce the temperature too much every time you add it to the risotto.

After about 20 minutes, once the rice has absorbed about 4-5 cups of stock, you’ll have something that looks like this.

If you want to continue with the spinach (which I highly recommend), place about ½ cup of fresh spinach leaves in a blender (or your infomercialicious Magic Bullet like me) and add a bit of water, blending them until liquefied.
I’m using a lot of parenthesis this post.

After mixing in a bit of Parmesan cheese into the still-hot risotto, pour in the pureed spinach and stir to combine.

And there you have it! Spinach risotto that would make the Grinch beam with pride.

Spinach Risotto
Recipe adapted from “Cooking for Madam” by Marta Sgubin and Nancy Nicholas

½ cup Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 ½ cups Arborio Rice
5 cups Chicken Stock
½ cup White Wine
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
½ cup fresh Spinach

Heat the olive oil in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden brown, then add the rice and cook for a minute or so, stirring so that each grain is coated with oil. Meanwhile, heat the stock. Add the wine to the rice and cook until it has evaporated, then start adding the stock. Pour in a little at a time, just enough so the rice is covered, then cook, stirring constantly, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add stock until the rice is the right consistency-al dente. This should take about 20 minutes. Begin tasting after 15 minutes. You may not need to use all the stock, but judge by the texture of the rice, not the amount of liquid.

While the rice is still hot, stir in Parmesan cheese.
Wash the spinach leaves, then put them, still wet, into a blender and liquefy them. You may need to add a tiny bit more water. Add the puree to the rice and stir it in. The rice will become a nice green color.

Serve at once with a little bit more Parmesan cheese.


  1. Beeuuuteeefulll! What a gorgeous dish. It was soooo creamy. Also, a great way to get kids to eat spinach because it doesn't look like a vegetable at all.Lovely photography. Please keep the food and photos coming.

  2. Glad you liked it, Lady Cooks the Blues!


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