A pot of creamy green spinach risotto is comfort food - and when it's brightened even more with lots of fresh green herbs - it's springtime in a bowl. (Skip to recipe.)
Well, the boy got braces.
His pearly whites . . . covered in a double row of train tracks.
Soft foods are on the menu for a few days.
Smoothies work well. So do cream soups, ice-cream, yogurt. But, when that is all you can eat, it wears thin pretty quickly, and when a hungry 15-year-old boy wants food, something more substantial is in order. I asked if he wanted porridge, but he didn't look too enthusiastic. When I said How about risotto? his metal-clad mouth turned upward in a huge grin.
Comfort food with lots of flavour. I love that risotto can be made with so many different ingredients stirred into it, from plain cheese to lovely seafood or different vegetables.
I had a batch of home-made turkey broth in the freezer, some frozen spinach, and jar of pesto, so this green risotto was easy to throw together. Yes, it takes some stirring time, but I never mind that - it gives me some time to ponder and gather my thoughts as my hand and a wooden spoon rhythmically turn the rice from hard little grains to a creamy, delectable mass. There's a soothing comfort in the stirring, as there is a soothing comfort in the eating.
The sore mouth appreciated it, and we all benefited.
I enjoyed the green brightness of the risotto, because my excitement over the coming of Spring, a few days ago, was slightly premature. Slushy snow and grey weather are still making sneaking surprise visits. The trees are bravely trying to shake the winter mantle and plump their buds, but boy, Mother Nature makes it hard. One minute it is sunny and full of promise, the next - sleeting and raining and snowing!
The green in the risotto, however, is not subject to the vagaries of weather. It's greener than green, with four - count them - four green elements: spinach, parsley, green onions, and pesto. So let's bring it on.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Note: If you have fresh spinach, by all means use that. Just steam or lightly saute 3 or 4 big handfuls, drain slightly and chop, then add into the risotto. And a good-quality canned broth works just as well as home-made, if you haven't any in your freezer.
Springtime Spinach Risotto
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups arborio rice
- ½ cup (120ml) white wine
- 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 10oz. (300gm) package frozen spinach, thawed slightly (or about 1½ to 2 cups cooked, chopped fresh spinach)
- 1 bundle (about eight) green onions, sliced (about 1 heaping cupful)
- ½ cup (120ml) chopped parsley, firmly packed
- ½ cup basil pesto, home-made or good quality store-purchased
- 1 cup (240ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
Put the chicken broth into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep it simmering as you use it to make the risotto.
While the broth is heating, on an adjacent burner, melt the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven.
Stir the chopped onion into the butter and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring until all the rice is coated with butter and heated through.
Pour the white wine into the rice and onions, and stir until it is absorbed into the rice. Add a ladleful (about ½ cup, or 120ml) of simmering broth to the rice, and stir constantly until it is absorbed. When your spoon can make a trail through the rice that doesn't fill in too quickly with liquid, you are ready to add the next ladle full of broth. Don't let it cook until totally dry, though.
Keep adding broth and stirring until it is absorbed, until the broth is all added.This should take about 20 to 25 minutes. Near the end, the broth will not all absorb in completely each time. The rice should have a very creamy consistency, but the grains should still be firm. It will be more 'liquidy' than you think is good, because it will thicken up substantially with the addition of the Parmesan cheese.
Add the spinach, green onions and parsley. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, until bubbling again.
Remove from the heat and stir in the basil pesto and parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt to your liking. (It will depend on the saltiness of your broth and the Parmesan.)
Serve with additional Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.
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Real food, good for slurping by all manner of metal-mouths.