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).
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.