A Mother’s Day Dinner Idea – Spinach Risotto
Spinach is a member of the Amaranthaceae chenopodiaceae family, cousin to chard and beets. Recognizable by its slightly bitter flavor and salty tang, spinach is excellent eaten raw when its flavor is more delicate, as it becomes more acidic and robust when cooked. When cooking spinach, lightly wilt by adding at the finish of the dish, or simmer until fully cooked and silky smooth.
Spinach has a large nutritional value, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly blanched. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, and several vital antioxidants. It is also famously high in iron, though its iron requires bio-available calcium to be properly absorbed.
Baby spinach is especially good for use in salads, try a a slightly sweeter dressing to bring out its more subtle side. Spinach was the favorite vegetable of Catherine de Medici, a historical figure in the 16th century. When she left of Florence, Italy, to marry the king of France, she brought along her own cooks, who could prepare spinach the ways that she especially liked. Since this time, dishes prepared on a bed of spinach are referred to as “a la Florentine.”
Thinly sliced spinach gives this delicious risotto it’s green color and bright flavor. An excellent meal for a hard-working mother, pair with seared scallops to go from delicious to gourmet.
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3/4 lb. spinach, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer and maintain over low heat.
- In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add onion and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add grain to the pan and stir until well coated with oil, sauté for a few minutes to slightly cook the starch in the grain, about 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and stir until absorbed.
- Add the stock a ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding more. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.
- When the rice is almost tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 18 minutes, add the spinach to the pan and add a ladleful of stock.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is heated through and the rice is al dente, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter, cheese and the reserved 1/4 cup stock.
- Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma.com