Full disclosure you guys: this is a Gwyneth Paltrow recipe.
I know there are some of you who were a little less than thrilled with my determination to cook my way through her It's All Good cookbook last year. You probably set off tiny rockets of joy when you realized everyday life had taken over and my challenge had bitten the dust. Shame on you!
Her recipes are simple (some surprisingly so, but so are mine occasionally #cookingconfessions), tasty, and damn if they aren't easy to make. Sometimes being a good cook means going back to the basics and relearning the most obvious of skills (like mixing spices with turkey meat to make meatballs) in order to learn what meats, spices, and vegetables go well together so you can come up with your own combinations eventually!
That's how I look at GP's meals: they're sometimes basic, but I find I can always eek out a new skill or flavor combo or favorite ingredient, and then tweak the original recipe to my own liking for many different uses.
This recipe? I've eaten it for weeks now. I've made it several times, and each time makes four servings, which can keep me in work lunches for almost a solid week! Change up the vegetables according to the season, add some shrimp or fish for a more paella-like feeling, or stir in a dollop of cheese or dash or turmeric. The possibilities are endless.
(I like the idea of adding asparagus, mushrooms, or corn... it could be interesting!)
So far, my favorite combinations involve putting as many green things as possible in the recipe while using the broth and a steady stirring motion to create the luxurious creamy texture you see here. I only add cheese at the very end as a light garnish, which allows this to feel like a hearty, yet healthy, lunch option without the added calories that normal risotto contains.
Or you could dump a bunch of parm in there, that would be pretty damn good too.
Risotto with Greens and Peas
4 cups broth // 1 cup arborio rice // 3-4 garlic cloves, diced // half a white or yellow onion, diced // 2 shallots, diced // 2 small or 1 large leek(s) chopped // one package frozen peas // three large handfuls washed spinach // juice of one lemon, zest optional // chopped thyme from 6 sprigs // 1 cup chopped basil
First, heat up your broth in a separate pot or pan. Keep warm on the stove near your cooking pan.
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saucepan (large, people) and stir in your onion, leeks, and shallots. Once these begin to soften, add the garlic and the thyme. Let it all simmer together, stirring occasionally, until nearly translucent.
Add the cup of rice and the lemon juice, stirring until the lemon juice is evaporated.
Begin adding your broth, one ladleful at a time, and stirring in each ladle until completely mixed in before adding the next. This could take 15-20 minutes depending on lots of physics and chemistry, but suffice it to say, this is the most labor intensive part of this recipe. Keep stirring and notice the creamy texture emerging! Yummmmmm.
When all of the broth has been mixed in to the rice, the rice should be cooked and delicious.
Add your peas, spinach, and basil. Stir and serve with cheese or salt and pepper.
Impress your friends with your culinary mastery! And, if you're nice, I won't even tell them you got it from Gwyneth. It'll be our little secret.