I must admit Risotto is probably one of my favourite meals to cook. Fairly simple, the creamy rice goes so well with whatever you wish to pair it with. My absolute autumn/winter favourites are mushroom & bacon and butternut squash risottos. But because it's spring now (yep believe it or not it actually is spring!) I have decided to go for a lighter option and experiment with my ingredients a little - and the lemon and spinach risotto was born. I was surprised how the aroma of the lemon zest and the acidity of the juice lightened a usually fairly heavy dish and made it a great spring/summer meal.
Perfect for dinner parties or for next day lunches.
- 300g arborio rice
- 750ml vegetable or chicken stock
- small knob of butter, about the size of your thumb
- 1 large glass of white wine
- 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
- 250g fresh spinach
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- two handfuls of grated pecorino
- salt and pepper to season
- Pre-heat some olive oil in a large pot. Fry the onions, garlic and celery for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the butter and stir. Once melted mix in the rice. Stir until coated with the olive oil and butter and fry until the rice starts to go translucent.
- Add the wine and cook until it has reduced to about half, then add some of the stock (so that the rice is just coated) and keep stirring. It's important that you stir your risotto a lot at the beginning, as this releases the starch from the rice and allows for a beautiful, creamy gravy.
- Leave your rice and stock to simmer over a low to medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, checking it frequently and topping up with stock when needed.
- After approximately 25 minutes give your rice a try. If it's almost done, add the lemon and spinach and give it a good stir.
- Cook for a further 5 minutes, then add 3/4 of your cheese, season to taste, stir and set aside. Make sure you give your risotto a 5-10 minute rest. The heat from the pot will continue cooking the rice and any remaining liquid will merge nicely with the rice.
Serve with the remaining cheese and an ice cold glass of white wine.