Published on October 30th, 2013 | by Rachel Budke4
In my class “Current Trends in Italian Cuisine”, one of our projects was to make a traditional Italian dish at home and take photos of the process. Good thing I absolutely love food photography – this project was perfect for me! For my project, I decided to make spinach risotto. This was my first time making risotto, and it turned out great. Once you master the steps of making risotto, you can change the flavoring ingredients and be as creative as you would like.
In a typical Italian meal, risotto is served as a first course. First courses are often pasta, but risotto is a great alternative option, especially since rice is gluten-free. Northern Italy is where risotto is the most common, but in Tuscany it is typically consumed about once a week.
One of the requirements for our project was to take a photograph of the ingredients that we used. I thought it would be fun to add this to my blog so you could see the different packaging written in Italian. I chose to use Arborio rice, but other rices that would work great are Vialone Nano or Carnaroli rice. All three of these rices are cultivated in Northern Italy. Not all types of rice will make risotto because of the varying starch contents. The Parmesan cheese that I used was purchased during my field trip to Hombre Organic Farm in Modena, Italy. You can read about my visit to Hombre here.
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- ¾ pound (340 g) frozen spinach, defrosted
- 2 cups dry Arborio rice
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- pinch of nutmeg, freshly ground
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium sized pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil.
- On a separate burner, heat a large pan with relatively high sides over low heat.
- Mince the garlic clove and set aside.
- Squeeze the extra moisture from the spinach, and chop it into smaller sized pieces. Set aside.
- When the stock has come to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the empty pan.
- Once the butter had melted, add the uncooked rice to the pan as well as the minced garlic. Increase the heat to medium. Continue cooking the rice, stirring often, until the rice becomes slightly translucent in color. This process helps the grains of rice to remain whole once it has been cooked.
- Add one ladle full of vegetable stock, stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Continue adding broth, one ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked. If the rice is not cooked when the broth is used up, add in boiling water.
- Add the chopped spinach, and stir to combine.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid for 3 minutes. This is the most important step in making risotto, and it known as mantecatura. This is the step that ensures a creamy finished product.
- Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste.