My husband has left me for some serious male bonding this weekend. Rather than wallow in self-pity (that’s not really how I roll), I will cook. Girl food is on the agenda. First up? Risotto!
If I had to choose one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Italian. Nothing else would even be an option. French food is too high maintenance, I only have a couple of go-to Chinese items, Mexican is too much, too often, and American wouldn’t give me the tastes I crave. Italians though, they know their stuff. They combine simple flavors in such stand-out ways, and this dish is no exception.
It does have a little back-story, as all good recipes do. The stars had to align for this risotto to come together:
First, I made this.
Then, I made this.
Finally, I saw this.
And spinach and sun-dried tomato risotto was born.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 C arborio rice (I made this batch with barley, but up the glam-factor and use rice)
- 1 C white wine
- 3-4 C chicken stock
- 1/3 C chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 5 oz. (half of a 10-ounce bag)
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1/2 C parmesan
- 2 T fresh basil, julienned
That’s a veritable laundry list of ingredients considering the recipes I usually make, but I typically have everything, save for the tomatoes, on hand.
*A note: most recipes call for you to heat up your chicken stock in a small sauce pan prior to making risotto. To me, this simply creates an unnecessary dirty dish, so I use room-temperature stock. Sue me.
Get some olive oil going in a Dutch oven (or a regular old pot, if you must). Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until just soft. Add the garlic, a little salt and pepper, and cook for another minute. Now, add the rice. Stir it around for about 2 minutes, just to toast it a smidge. Then add the wine. Ree adds a whole cup, which is about double what most risottos I’ve made call for. But I subscribe to the “go big or go home” school of thought, so I went all in. Nice flavor. Stir the rice frequently, until the wine is almost all absorbed. After that, begin stirring in about 1/4 – 1/2 cupfuls of chicken stock. You’ll want to add your next splash right before the previous one has been absorbed.
This process takes anywhere between 20-30 minutes. I test a couple of grains of rice when I think it’s looking nice and puffed up. During your last ladleful of stock, add the tomatoes and keep stirring. Once all of the broth has been absorbed, add the butter and spinach, stir and cover the pot. Walk away for 2 minutes. Return, uncover, stir and take a whiff if you like. Stir in the parmesan.
Serve in a nice looking bowl topped with basil and a little more cheese while you’re at it. Then, enjoy the house to yourself. Oh wait, that’s just me.
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