Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto

Cook's notes: Fresh spinach can be substituted for any recipes that call for frozen spinach. On the previous posted recipe Artichoke Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups fresh spinach can be substituted for the frozen following these directions: 

Use 2-3 cups torn small pieces fresh spinach with stems trimmed off. Rinse it well; don’t dry the leaves. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, cook the spinach until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well, squeeze out the excess moisture and chop. 
Many recipes such as soups call for the fresh spinach torn leaves (not cooked) to be added in toward the end of cooking. 
  Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto
Cook's notes: This risotto is creamy and flavorful. It makes a savory side or as a main meal with cooked shrimp. A "heads up" the recipe does require a patient cook. It requires 30 minutes of the cook's undivided attention but well worth the effort. 
adapted recipe is from
It serves 2 if served as a main meal and 3-4 if served as a side.
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth-low sodium
  • 1 TB. butter
  •  1 shallot, minced or 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice (dry)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced and patted dry with paper a towel
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • handful of fresh torn basil or 1 tsp. dried basil and 1 tsp.dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • In a saucepan bring chicken broth to a boil, reduce heat and keep hot
  • In a large skillet saute garlic and shallot or onions in 1 TB. butter-about 3 minutes
  • Add in rice and stir to coat
  • On medium heat add wine and stir till nearly all liquid absorbed by rice 
  • Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir continuously until broth is absorbed
  • Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time stirring until nearly all is absorbed before adding more
  • When there is 1/4 cup of broth left add in tomatoes, spinach leaves , basil, parsley and 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cook until most of liquid absorbed, remove from heat, sprinkle with other 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
How To Store Fresh Herbs

, Parsley, and Cilantro
A fresh bunch of basil can be treated like a bouquet of flowers: Just trim the ends, place in a glass with an inch or so of water, and place on the counter at room temperature. (The leaves will turn black if refrigerated). The basil will remain fresh for anywhere from a few days to a week. You can also try this with similar long-stemmed herbs like parsley and cilantro.

Chives, Thyme, and Rosemary
Other herbs, like chives, thyme, and rosemary, require a slightly different approach. Wrap them loosely in plastic wrap and place them in the warmest part of the refrigerator; one of the compartments in the door works perfectly. Do not wrap the herbs tightly or the trapped moisture may cause them to mold prematurely; many people like to add a crumpled paper towel to the bag as a safeguard. Do not rinse the herbs until just before using.
How to Dry Fresh Herbs
If you have more fresh herbs than you can use, dry them. Place the leaves on a plate (chopped if using basil or parsley; whole if using thyme or rosemary) and set aside in a cool, dry place for several days. Then store them in a resealable container in the refrigerator.
When to Pitch Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs are no longer fit to use and should be discarded when the leaves turn dark or brittle, or the stems begin to show traces of mold.

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