Spinach Risotto

  • Yield 4 to 6 servings

The secret to a perfect risotto is to cook it very slowly over low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Arborio rice is the essential ingredient in risotto which is a classic Northern Italian rice dish. The grains will swell to two or three times their original size. They will be plump and round and have a moist, creamy consistency but slightly firm when cooked.


4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion or 6 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup undrained, thawed frozen spinach
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Bring the broth just to a boil in a heavy saucepan; reduce heat to simmer. Simmer while preparing risotto.
  2. Saute the shallots and garlic in the olive oil in a saute pan for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the rice.
  3. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup of the broth.
  4. Cook until the broth is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and mix well.
  5. Cook until almost absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in the spinach, basil, pesto and thyme. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups broth 1/2 cup at a time.
  6. Cook until the broth is absorbed between each addition, stirring constantly. Test the consistency of the rice before adding the entire amount of the broth. The mixture should be creamy but each grain should be separate and firm. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Junior League of Buffalo, Great Lake Effects, Buffalo Beyond Winter and Wings (The Junior League of Buffalo, Inc., 1997).



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