I love risotto. I really, really love risotto, even though it is not something that I grew up with. My mother's family are from southern Italy - the Campagnia, near Naples - and we simply didn't eat risotto. But I do love it very much.
Tonight, I needed an all-in-one dinner because Ken was coming over for a little bit, and I didn't want the kitchen to be in an uproar. I had half a bag of fresh baby spinach in the fridge that needed to be used, so I considered spinach and lentil soup, but I just had some of Lidya's spectacular lentil soup for lunch. We had pasta for dinner last night. As I stood in my pantry, my eye fell on the jar of arborio rice and I knew what I'd make - spinach and lemon risotto! it turned out really well, and even had a kind of buttery flavor, even though there was no butter in it.
I cooked it the old fashioned way on the stove top because I wanted to be able to keep tasting it, but a super quick pressure cooker method can be found in an earlier post of mine here.
1 med onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 - 3 Tbs olive oil
1 C Arborio rice
3 - 4 C hot veggie stock (make with Vogue Vegibase)
zest and juice of one lemon
half a pound of fresh baby spinach
Saute onion in 1 - 2 Tbs olive oil till translucent. Add rice and stir to evenly coat every grain with oil, adding more oil if necessary. Add 2 C of hot broth and the lemon juice, stirring well. Bring to boil and lower to just barely simmering. Stir well every couple of minutes, adding a half cup of hot broth whenever the rice begins to look a little dry. When about 3 cups of broth have been absorbed, taste for doneness and salt. Add in lemon pepper salt to your taste (I used 1 tsp) and the spinach. Stir in the remainder of the broth, the lemon juice and the zest, and keep stirring until the risotto is done. It should be very creamy, almost as if you had poured real cream into it, and the rice should be cooked all the way through, but still retain a slight resistance to the tooth (al dente). When its done, taste for salt and pepper again, stir in a dollop of margerine and eat!
It was yummy. If it wasn't Lent, I'd probably stir in some parmesan, or even some crumbled feta. I think this might be nice made with some white wine, or even champagne instead of the lemon juice, which would make it a bit sweeter. You could stir in some other stuff - some salsa might be yummy. This would be good with some steamed shrimp stirred into it as well, or even chunks of chicken.
We both loved it. I was hoping for some leftovers so I could make risotto patties and fry them. Oh boy, fried risotto patties are SO GOOD! But alas, it was not to be; we ate it all. There are no leftovers.