**Spinach Risotto Recipe**
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- Fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
**1. Prepare the Spinach:**
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and chop it into small pieces. Set aside.
**2. Heat the Stock:**
- In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock over medium heat until it's hot. Reduce the heat to low to keep the stock warm while you're cooking the risotto.
**3. Sauté the Aromatics:**
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 2-3 minutes until it becomes translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds until fragrant.
**4. Toast the Rice:**
- Add the Arborio rice to the pot with the onions and garlic.
- Stir the rice for about 2 minutes, allowing it to toast slightly and become translucent around the edges.
**5. Deglaze with Wine (Optional):**
- Pour in the white wine and stir constantly until the liquid is mostly absorbed by the rice.
**6. Start Adding Stock:**
- Begin adding the warm chicken stock, one ladleful at a time.
- Stir the rice constantly and gently until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding more stock. This gradual process helps release the starch from the rice, giving risotto its creamy consistency.
**7. Incorporate Spinach:**
- When you have used about half of the stock and the rice is halfway cooked (after about 10-12 minutes), add the chopped spinach to the risotto.
- Stir the spinach into the rice until it wilts and is evenly distributed.
**8. Continue Cooking:**
- Keep adding the stock and stirring until the rice is creamy and cooked to your desired level of doneness. This usually takes around 18-20 minutes in total.
**9. Finish the Dish:**
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat.
- Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, grated Parmesan cheese, and lemon zest.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Squeeze in fresh lemon juice to brighten up the flavors. Adjust the amount according to your preference.
- Divide the spinach risotto among serving plates or bowls.
- Garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of lemon zest, if desired.
**Tip for Adding Spinach without Making the Risotto Too Liquid:**
To prevent the risotto from becoming too liquid when adding spinach, make sure to squeeze out any excess moisture from the chopped spinach before adding it to the risotto. You can do this by using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to gently press and absorb the moisture from the spinach. Adding wilted spinach with excess moisture can dilute the creamy consistency of the risotto.