A zesty and fresh green vegetable risotto

Green vegetable risotto

Risotto, when done well, is a real chameleon, blending well into whatever sort of meal you want. A meaty winter warmer, a seaside fish extravaganza, a light and zesty alfresco lunch, it pretty much covers all the bases.

This is one to serve with a salad outside, or for light summery supper. Actually, it’s one to serve whenever and wherever the hell you want. A jack-of-all-trades like any good creamy risotto.

When making risotto I always (unless its a fish version or I’m cooking for veggie friends) use a home made chicken stock. It adds depth and underlying flavour to the creamy rice. If I’m all out of stock I use Marigold bouillon, it’s the only dried stock that isn’t overwhelmingly salty.

I made this to go with an Alsace Riesling (Cave de Turckheim, Riesling Vielles Vignes 2008 – approx £10 pr bottle) that had been given to me by Sopexa. It was a lovely dry version with the faintest of honeyed edges and a long finish.

With this in mind I was aiming for fresh, herby and zingy with this dish. If you wanted to make it little more interesting, you could add some grated nutmeg along with the herbs. Or a scattering of lightly toasted pine nuts. You could even stir in some ricotta or cream if you wanted to be truly indulgent (and abandon the healthy pretence).

Cooking a green risotto

A green risotto with summery vegetables
Serves 4-6 and any leftovers make great arancini

400g risotto rice (I used arborio)
1l of stock
A large glass of white wine or dry vermouth
1 onion – finely diced
1 stick of celery – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
500g baby spinach – washed, cooked, drained and finely chopped.
2 sprigs of rosemary – leaves stripped and finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
80g hard pecorino or Parmesan – finely grated
2 tblsp olive oil
25-50g butter (depending on how decadent you’re feeling)

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan (the sort with a lid) or other wide bottomed pan. Fry the onions and celery over a medium heat until they’re soft. Add the garlic and rice and stir fry until the rice starts turning translucent.

Add the white wine and stir gently until its almost absorbed. Keep stirring while you add the stock a cup at a time. As each cup is almost absorbed add the next.

After 15-20 minutes add the spinach and stir it in. Cook for another 5 minutes after which the rice should be almost cooked. Try a little, it should be creamy with just a bit of bite to it.

Turn off the heat, stir in the rosemary, lemon zest and cheese and then dot with butter. Cover and leave for five minutes. Give it a stir and serve.

7 Responses to “A zesty and fresh green vegetable risotto”

  1. Susan

    I love light summer risottos! The lemon zest is key. What a fab gig you have, devising food to pair with wine!

  2. The Grubworm

    @Susan – I agree about the lemon zest, I’m thinking of taking out all the veg and just doing a herb and lemon risotto next time.

    As for the food and wine matching, if only it were a paid gig!

  3. Thursday

    Any suggestions for an alternative to the spinach? My husband is highly allergic.

  4. The Grubworm

    @Thursday – that’s a bugger of an allergy. I would substitute it with rocket, thrown in raw at the same stage, or maybe radish/turnip greens? Or nettles, I bet they would go really well (obviously cooked to de-sting them first). Dead seasonal too.

  5. Thursday

    Indeed, he’s rather cheesed off about it given he never used to be allergic but now throats closes, tongue swells, the whole caboodle. Rocket or nettles sound a good alternative, many thanks.

  6. The Grubworm

    I’m really glad you like the look of this. Isn’t spinach great, it;s one of my go-to veg whenever I’m in a quandary over what to eat.

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