RECIPE: Risotto Verde Provencal
So it seems this February all the posts I write will be an homage to this vintage French book I found over Christmas to give to my hubby, called "Cooking with Provence Herbs". As herbal cookery has been a new obsession of mine, and French cooking has always been an obsession of his, this seemed a great gift (for both of us!). Recently, we had a ton of extra spinach left over from a salad we made the night before, so we decided to make this the next night using up all those leafy greens.
We changed the recipe up a lot (after all, risotto is really Italian, phft! and Rich insisted on some Herbs de Provence for a recipe in a Provence cookbook). So we had some fun with it. It was really fresh, green and light. It seemed a fresh breath of Spring in the depths of Winter. Although, the weather has been so warm in the Midwest it sure seems like Spring, even though it's just February.
Well, at least I'm hoping. My neighbor's bulbs are 2 inches out of the ground, NO JOKE!
Risotto Verde Provencal
1/4-1/3 cup chopped parsley
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. (32 oz.) spinach leaves
10 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, cored and diced
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 onions, chopped
5 artichoke hearts in oil, drained and diced
3 cups short grain rice
1 1/2 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
Boil spinach in a large pot of salted water for 4-5 minutes. Drain and cool. Squeeze most of the water from spinach. Chop the blanched, cooled spinach and set aside. In a saucepan, heat the broth until just to a boil. Lower the heat to low and keep hot.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add mushrooms, yellow pepper and onion and cook about 5-7 minutes until onions are starting to get translucent. Add rice and artichoke hearts. Stir to coat the rice in oil, and saute the onions and rice until the onions begin to brown with the rice. Stir as it sizzles loudly. The rice will become translucent, about 3 minutes. At this point, add the wine. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid while stirring frequently.
Add Herbs de Provence and the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover pan for 10-12 minutes. Add water if rice gets too dry but still too firm. After 10-12 minutes add the spinach and artichoke hearts. Cook for 2-3 min. Check rice to determine if it's al dente (soft with a lightly chewy middle). Take off heat and mix in Parmesan cheese and serve hot. Garnish with extra cheese and dash of parsley on top of servings.