June 08, 2010

Risotto with Spinach and Almond Pesto

It has been raining cuts and dogs here – some places in Europe even got flooded. What do you do on a rainy but still warm and summerish day? Well, I keep sipping tea of mountain herbs with buckwheat honey, looking at the map with the summer holiday destinations (those not flooded yet) and craving for a well-cooked comfort dinner. 

 Well-cooked and comfort and dinner for me is a creamy risotto. Sometime ago inspired by 101 Cookbooks I was experimenting with spinach pesto: I found that spinach is fabulous in the combination with dry almonds and cream, but I though this pesto was little dull with pasta. It has proved though to marry happily to the risotto concept and here is the recipe I came up with. I love this risotto with spinach and almond pesto for it is a filling well-cooked dish that yet has the notes of summer flavor and lightness. So much for the comfort dinner for a raining summer evening – now, rain go away!

Risotto with Spinach and Almond Pesto Recipe

Ingridients (2 servings)

200 g Arborio rice (or Vialone Nano, or Carnaroli - they are perfect for risotto as it gets creamy while staying al dente; may be replaced with other short-grained round or semi-round rice)
750 ml vegetable stock (wonderful recipe for making vegetable stock from Café Fernando)
½ red onion, chopped into half-circles
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150 g fresh spinach leaves, chopped
20 dry roasted or sun-dried almonds
200 ml cream (10% fat)
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
sea salt to taste
Parmesan cheese
bit of saffron (if you get the real saffron you virtually need 2-3 threads)


1. Set rice for cooking: pre-heat a sauté pan and then oil it with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the chopped onions and simmer on a low flame until golden. Add rice to the pan and mix it with onions so that al the grains are fully covered with oil. Simmer for a 2-3 minutes. Now add 1/3 glass vegetable stock, stir to distribute the liquid evenly and let simmer. As the liquid boils away add 1/3 glass of vegetable stock again. Continue in this fashion making sure you add enough liquid and the rice does not stick to the pan yet it is not fully covered with liquid either. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get the rice into a creamy yet al dente condition. Once done add a bit of saffron, Parmesan cheese and sprinkle some olive oil, cover with a lead and set aside for a bit.

Risotto with Spinach and Almond Pesto

2. Prepare spinach and almond pesto (can start this in the breaks from attending the rice – perfect for improving your multi-tasking): Pre-heat a sauté pan and oil it. Put chopped spinach in and cook for 3-5 minutes on a low flame stirring now and then. Transfer the cooked spinach into a tall plastic bowl, add almonds and make into a paste with a blender, add cream and continue blending into a homogeneous creamy paste. Add spices and salt.

Risotto with Spinach and Almond Pesto

3. Get ready for serving: Add the creamy spinach and almond paste to the risotto and stir. Add Parmesan when serving.

2 Responses to Risotto with Spinach and Almond Pesto:

Unknown said...

WOW! Need to steel that recipe from you and cook it some day...

Olga Tikhonova said...

I very much encourage the steeling)

Post a Comment