ffwd – creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach

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!).

ready for a final stir

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!

8 thoughts on “ffwd – creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach

  1. I’m impressed that you have already cooked this rice several times. With all the recipes to try and with all the recipes in addition to these FFwD that I want try, I’m struggling to get them done. It just lets me know that this is one you really like… I’m finding that just about everyone enjoyed this recipe…I think it will go on my list for company…something everyone likes. NIce post and I always enjoy reading your blog.

  2. I like this too and I think I will be making this again…it is tasty and flavorful ,no wonder you have cooked this 4 times ! Nice post šŸ™‚

  3. This is definitely a keeper. I like how easy this was to make. And I agree with you on the leftovers. With bruschetta sounds great! We had it with grilled salmon the first night, but then used the leftovers to stuff some peppers. I can’t wait to make it again.

  4. you know, I had just given birth the first time I tried to make risotto and I really struggled with it. I had really nicely flavored but not creamy, rice. The second time, I set a stool up in front of the stove and had looked at a lot of directions and hints for getting risotto made correctly… and I did it! A lot of the things I read from articles on Saveur.com helped and I dont use aborio rice, I use carnaroli rice and it works great every time! šŸ™‚ Maybe you could try again? šŸ™‚ Glad you liked this though, and unknowingly, you can trick dinner guests into thinking you have made an amazing risotto! giggle, giggle!

  5. Great job! Your rice looks delicious. This is definitely easy enough for a weeknight supper. If you can make this, I’m sure you can make risotto. All it takes is a bit of planning and patience.

  6. It’s nice to hear that this recipe has entered your everyday repertoire – that’s quite an endorsement. I like the choices you made for accompaniments for this dish – they sound perfect.

  7. We loved the flavors as well and any combination of cheese, cream, and garilc is comfort food areound here. Isn’t it great that it goes with any cheese? Seems like folks used a lot of different kinds and it sounds like Toscano was a good option!

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