This is not a traditional risotto recipe it’s rather a traditional recipe cooked in an easy risotto style. It may seem like a delicate, sophisticated dish (and it really is) but it’s origin is not as elegant as one might think. They used to cook this humble but yet very tasty food when putting dinner on the table wasn’t as easy as it is today. Women would gather spinach and other green leaves from their garden and with a handful of rice they made this exquisite and very nutritious food for their family. Passing from generation to generation it became part of the Mediterranean cuisine and my mom particularly was a bit obsessed with it as she cooked it once a week (on spinach season- winter). I remember hating it’s green colour as a child (as all children I wasn’t very fond of green food) but the moment I was taking the first bite was the moment I didn’t care for it’s colour any more.
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 400g-3/4lbs spinach, frozen
- 1 – 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 liter vegetable stock or water
- 5tbl.sp. olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
- 250g-1/3lb risotto rice
- 150ml white wine
- 100g-1/5lb feta cheese, for serving (optional)
- 3 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
- fresh thyme
- grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Place a pot over high heat and let it get very hot.
- Add 2 table spoons olive oil and the coarsely chopped onion.
- Peel the clove of garlic, thinly slice it and add it to the pan, add some thyme and mix.
- As soon as the onion caramelizes, add the rice, stir and sauté the rice until it turns golden.
- Add the wine and let it evaporate and then, add the water or stock (warm).
- Lower heat to medium, add the spring onion and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- In a bowl, add the spinach and a generous amount of salt and rub them between your hands. *Don’t add them to the pot immediately. Squeeze them with your hands or in a towel to release most of their moisture or else the whole mixture will turn green.
- Add the spinach to the pot in batches, keeping it over a medium to low heat and stir thoroughly.
- Add the lemon zest, the dill and lemon juice and stir, taste it and adjust seasoning and lemon to suit your liking.
- Remove from heat and add some olive oil.
- Serve the spinach risotto with lemon slices and some crumbled feta.
*Alternatively you can use fresh spinach – saute the spinach in a pan with some olive oil until volume reduced and all moisture evaporates. Then, add it to the rice mixture two minutes before it’s done.
*Serve it hot and juicy right after cooking or enjoy it cold (room temp.) with some extra lemon juice.
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