Playing Rachael's Risi e Bisi with Spinach

Rachael's take on the classic dish, risotto with peas, comes with the addition of spinach that’s been kicked up by fresh mint and a chili pepper.  

Ingredients
  • ½ pound spinach
  • A fat handful of mint
  • 1 small green chili pepper, such as jalapeno or serrano, stemmed, seeded if you prefer mild heat, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small lemon
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 round cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 fat handfuls)
Preparation

In a food processor pulse, chop the spinach, adding a few handfuls at a time, and with the last handful, add the mint leaves, chili pepper and juice of lemon.

In a medium saucepot over medium-low heat, warm the stock or broth.


Heat a risotto pan or rounded bottom pot over medium-high heat, add EVOO, onion and garlic, soften 2-3 minutes, add rice and season with salt and pepper, and toast the rice 2 minutes. Add wine and let it absorb while stirring rice with wooden spoon or risotto spoon (a spoon with a hole at its center to build more starch as you stir). Add a few ladles of stock at a time and stir vigorously to build a creamy, starchy risotto. From the first addition of the stock, the risotto will take 18 minutes to prepare to al dente. In the last 3 to 5 minutes, add the spinach mixture and peas, then just before serving, melt in the butter. Finish with cheese, and adjust salt and pepper.

Leftover Risotto Balls