Risotto is one of those dishes that is really worth mastering. There are so many different variations that you can make, with just a few pantry staples and some fresh produce from the garden. For some reason, many people think that risotto is difficult to make, but it doesn’t have to be. The most common mistake I see people make with risotto is taking it off the heat when they think it looks about the right consistency. As the liquid continues to absorb for a while afterwards, by the time it gets to the table it is gluggy, thick and not very appealing, thus reinforcing the belief that risotto is hard to make. But take it off the heat while it’s still a little soupy, and by the time you are ready to eat it will be perfect!
Spinach & Herb Risotto
8 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
Small bunch of spinach
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups arborio rice
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Few sprigs of oregano, leaves roughly chopped
Put the stock into a saucepan and heat to just below a gentle simmer.
While it’s heating, wash the spinach and remove the stems. Place the leaves into a metal colander which has been placed in the sink, then pour a kettleful of boiling water over it to blanch. Refresh with cold water.
Now pop the spinach into food processor and whizz to a puree. Alternatively, you can chop the spinach very finely. Set the spinach aside.
Next, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based pan, and add the onion and garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon and gently cook until the onion becomes translucent.
Add the rice to the large pot and stir with the wooden spoon until all the rice is coated in oil.
Using a soup ladle, add a ladleful hot stock to the rice, and stir continuously. As the liquid is absorbed, keep adding the stock, a ladle at a time, until all the liquid is used up and the rice has softened to al dente. This will take around 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat while there is still a little more liquid around the rice than you think you need. This will continue to absorb.
Just before serving, gently stir through the pureed spinach, parmesan and herbs. Serve at once on warmed plates, sprinkled with extra parmesan and/or parsley if desired.