Spinaci e riso (rice and spinach) is a great first course or side dish and is much simpler to make than risotto. It requires only simmering–no sauteing of onions or of rice.
There is no wine required–only butter, broth, spinach and a touch of lemon zest. The spinach may be blanched, squeezed and chopped ahead of time. In that case, the final dish only takes about 20 minutes to assemble. The rice cannot be made ahead, and therefore requires last minute timing to be at its peek.
This is a good accompaniment or first course to almost any meat or poultry. Without the parmiggiano, it’s also a great accompaniment to fish.
Spinaci e Riso
serves 4, with leftovers
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken broth
3 tbls butter
20 oz. fresh spinach
grated parmiggiano for sprinkling
zest of half a lemon
In a large pot of boiling salted water, place spinach (in 2 batches, if necessary). Boil for approximately 5 minutes and place in ice water for a minute or two.
In small bundles, squeeze thoroughly and set aside. Chop spinach coarsely in both directions.
In 3 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth, place rice and butter, and cover. Let simmer on low heat for fifteen minutes, then check for doneness. After 15 minutes, it should be al-dente. Stir in chopped spinach and cook for about 2 minutes longer. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Add more broth, if needed, to thin the dish.
Also top with lemon zest and plenty of grated parmiggiano.