Monday, March 1, 2010
Spinach & Shrimp Risotto
serves 6 or more
In Lidia Bastianich's latest cookbook, Lidia's Italy, she shares recipes from her favorite ten places in Italy. This springtime recipe for risotto with spinach comes from Friuli in northeast Italy and shows the basic risotto-making technique used in Friuli. Instead of spinach, she suggests using greens more common to the region, such as nettles, wild asparagus, or sclopit, if you can find them. Have fun with it - hard to mess up Risotto!
10 ounces tender spinach leaves
6 to 8 cups water
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 cup white wine
6 tablespoons butter, in tablespoon-sized pieces
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing (we used a cup of Parm Reg)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
A 3-quart pot for hot water
A heavy 10-inch saucepan, such as an enameled cast-iron French oven
1. Rinse and dry the spinach. Slice the leaves, a handful at a time, into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Heat the water in the pot almost to the boil. Cover, and keep it very hot on the stove, near the risotto pan. If you choose to add a red bell and shrimp. Cut up your bell pepper and saute shrimp with slices of fresh garlic and olive oil for about two minutes (one min. each side). Set aside shrimp to cool. Cut shrimp in fourths after it has cooled.
3. Ladle in 2 cups of hot water, enough to cover the rice. Cook for a minute or two, stirring, then pile the shredded spinach on top of the rice, and stir steadily as the spinach wilts and the rice gradually absorbs almost all of the moisture, 5 minutes or more.
6. Drop in the butter pieces, stir vigorously, then beat in the 1/2 cup of grated cheese, and grind black pepper generously on top. If you choose to add bell peppers ad those in at this point as well.
7. Add the pre-sauted shrimp you have cut it up in fourths last.
8. Serve immediately in warm pasta bowls.