On my first visit to Rome, I stumbled across a small trattoria near Campo De Fiori whose kitchen emitted wonderful aromas — a sure sign that the food would be delicious. I ordered a risotto verde, never having had one before and out came a mound of rice in a mélange of beautiful green shades. At home I immediately tried to recreate what I had eaten in Rome.
Even rice has a shelf life. Buy quality rice for risotto with an expiration date on the bag or box.—Lora Zarubin
6 cups spinach leaves firmly packed with stems removed
3 cups arugula leaves firmly packed
1 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves (about 1/2 ounce)
4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup fresh shelled peas, chilled in ice water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground red pepper (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Soak the spinach and arugula leaves separately in water for 30 minutes to remove all the grit and sand.
2. Heat a 10- to 12-inch skillet and add the washed spinach leaves. Saute for several minutes, stirring, until wilted. Place the spinach in a colander and drain well, then finely chop.
3. Drain the arugula leaves and roughly chop. Wash and drain the parsley leaves and roughly chop.
4. Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a high simmer. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
5. In a 6-quart non-reactive saucepan, melt the olive oil and butter. Add the shallots and garlic and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the rice and continue stirring for another minute or until the rice is translucent. Add the white wine and cook over medium heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Then using a ladle, begin adding the warm stock approximately 1 cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon several times after each addition. Wait until the stock has been absorbed before adding more. Repeat this until almost all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is al dente. The cooking time for the risotto is approximately 35 minutes.
6. Stir in the chopped spinach, chopped arugula, chopped parsley, and peas. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano. Season with the red pepper and add salt and black pepper. Serve immediately, passing the remaining Parmigiano separately.
Recipe © 2003 Lora Zarubin. All rights reserved.