Kind of funny… I’ve made this recipe now 4 times, I think. But I actually made it twice this week! Long story, but I was dedicated to getting this recipe completed (again), so my poor planning and communication ended up, well… working out ok after all!
To be honest, I’m not really a fan of leftovers. And Dorie even suggests that this recipe is best served immediately. But this is one time that I have to disagree, this is pretty ok the next day. So, last night, I decided that I’d better go ahead and make the recipe, since I wasn’t sure what was going on this evening. Of course, there were leftovers, so that’s what I brought to work for lunch. In the interim, I was told – “hey, NFL and your French Friday recipe sounds great!” Even knowing that, I still decided that my leftovers were better than any other alternative (including In-n-Out!), so I may be over-riced right about now, but I think it kind of illustrates that this is pretty yummy indeed.
Probably the reason I’ve made this so many times is that this is a set of ingredients I often have on hand. Plus it’s easy delightful comfort food. I have to admit that the arborio rice is likely an important component (and since I’m hopeless at making risotto, this is convenient). This time, I had a really wonderful Toscano cheese that seemed like the right flavor, so I substituted that for the Gruyere that Dorie suggests. So, it couldn’t be more simple: rice, chicken stock, an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a package of fresh baby spinach, a bit of butter for a saute, then some grated cheese and a splash of cream to finish it off.
Unlike traditional risotto, the rice is simmered in the broth until most of the liquid is absorbed – basically a traditional rice preparation. In another pan the onions and garlic are sauteed in the butter, then the spinach is added, the whole thing covered until the spinahc wilts. Because I’m lazier than Dorie, I simply take off the cover, allow the pan to finish by evaporating most of the juice, and then just roughly cut the spinach up in the pan (obviously not a non-stick one!).
Once the rice is the right consistency, the vegetables and rice are combined, then the cheese and splash of cream are added. Check the seasonings – and then you’re done! In the past, I’ve even added a bit of truffle oil for richness, this time, just a bit of freshly ground pepper. I served mine with simple sliced tomatoes. For the second round, some fresh burschetta… with garden tomatoes and freshly picked basil.
I think everyone agreed this is a winner. A great weeknight meal; a great meal when you want some comfort food; a great meal when you don’t have much around the house but want something terrific… you get the idea. Of course, this could be mixed up with different ingredients – particularly cheeses, or used as a side dish – I know that I usually am contented to have it as my main course. While I love risotto when I have it prepared correctly, since I am not able to make it (or don’t have the patience), this satisfies that craving, without all of the fussiness.
This was a hit. I hope that the rest of the FFWD crew enjoyed it too!