With Saint Patrick’s day directly around the corner, what better than to celebrate with a “green” risotto!
Rather than traditional Irish recipes, you could turn to something a little healthier and brighter. Unless drinking dyed-green beer appeals to you more!
In Canada we observe March 17th as a day for celebration and take it very seriously. We all get a little Irish by either attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade, grabbing a beer at a local Irish pub or eating green-colored foods. Not to mention, all the searching we do in our closets for a little (or a lot) of something green to wear to do one of those three things!
This risotto happened to me, not because of Saint Patrick’s day, but because I honestly love spinach. Fresh spinach. I was one of the kids in that generation where parents thought canned vegetables were still vegetables. Flashback to the 70’s and 80’s. Remember jello-mold salads? Okay, perhaps these were things of the 60’s and already passé, but in my house these will still being served up. So of course I love fresh spinach, compared to that greenish-grey canned slop, it’s marvelous!
Not only is this green risotto full of deliciously warming flavors, it’s also highly nutrient-dense. Leafy green spinach and fresh herbs contain an enormous amount of vitamins and minerals. Spinach is especially high in vitamin K (more than 10 times the recommended daily amount) and vitamin A (3 times the recommended daily amount), and is loaded with manganese, folate and antioxidants. All of which help to build a strong, healthy, and disease free body.
Looking for extra hearty, extra healthy? Well, this recipe can easily be made using faro or buckwheat instead of traditional Arborio rice.
TIP: I like to serve my risotto with jumbo tiger prawns. To serve 4, you’ll need 12-16 tiger prawns, cleaned, tails left on. Season the prawns with salt and pepper and in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté prawns for about 1 minute on each side until cooked through. Drizzle with a squeeze of lemon and serve them with the risotto. Voila!
Green Risotto (Spinach, Tarragon, Parsley and Chive Risotto)
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ cups Arborio risotto rice
1 cup white wine (250 ml)
3 cups vegetable broth (hot) (750 ml)
200 g baby spinach leaves, coarsely shredded
handful fresh parsley, tarragon, and chives, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
4-5 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish (ca. 30 g)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
toasted pine nuts, garnish
1. In a large, deep skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onion until soft but not browned, about 6-8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium; add the rice and garlic, cook for two minutes, stirring continuously.
2. Add the white wine. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly reduced, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Slowly add a ladleful of broth, about half a cup (125 ml) at a time, stirring slowly but often, until absorbed. As each portion of the stock is absorbed by the rice, continue by adding some more, a ladleful at a time, stirring often. Once the last ladleful of stock is absorbed, the rice should be tender yet firm to the bite (al dente) and moist. This takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Stir in the spinach, herbs, butter and parmesan and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 1-2 minutes. Divide the risotto amongst serving bowls, garnish with pine nuts, sprinkle with extra parmesan and serve immediately. Enjoy!