SAFFRON SPINACH RISOTTO

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - ANNABEL LANGBEIN -

Ready in 45 mins Serves 3 as a main or 6 as a side

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

1 clove gar­lic, crushed

1½ cups risotto rice ½ cup white wine

Salt and ground black pep­per, to taste

25-30 saffron threads

5-6 cups hot chicken or veg­etable stock

4 hand­fuls baby spinach

1 cup grated parme­san

1-2 Tbsp but­ter

Heat oil in a deep, heavy-based pot and gen­tly fry onion and gar­lic un­til soft but not browned (about 5 min­utes). Add rice and stir over heat for 2 min­utes to lightly toast. Add wine, salt and pep­per and cook a fur­ther 2 min­utes, or un­til liq­uid is ab­sorbed. Add saffron threads to 5 cups hot stock, then add to rice mix­ture. Stir to com­bine, cover and sim­mer over a very low heat un­til al­most cooked (about 15 min­utes). At this point, test the rice. If it has only a tiny, hard, white core in the cen­tre of each grain, it is nearly ready. If the core is big­ger, cook an­other few min­utes. It needs to be al­most cooked be­fore you add the fi­nal in­gre­di­ents. If the rice be­gins to dry out, add an­other ½-1 cup of hot stock or wa­ter — it should look very soupy. Stir in the spinach, parme­san and but­ter, cover and cook an­other 2-3 min­utes un­til the rice is fully cooked through but still al dente (it will con­tinue to cook once re­moved from the heat, so take care not to over­cook it). Re­move from heat and al­low to stand for 2-3 min­utes. Ad­just sea­son­ings to taste and serve.

Annabel says:

This recipe is a per­fect ex­am­ple of my Es­sen­tial cook­book phi­los­o­phy, where once you know a recipe method you can sub­sti­tute dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents and flavours. Try it with roasted cau­li­flower in­stead of spinach, or leave out the saffron and cook 300g mush­rooms with the onion.

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