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Green spinach and lemon risotto

Ingredients: 

3 cups warm vegetable stock or chicken stock 

1/2 cup of spinach 

Small bunch parsley 

3 tbsp olive oil 

4 slices prosciutto 

2 teaspoons butter 

1 thyme sprig, leaves picked 

1 leek, the white part finely chopped (freeze the green part to use in stock) 

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped 

3/4 cup arborio risotto rice 

75ml dry white wine  

4 teaspoons parmesan, grated plus extra to serve 

½ lemon, zested and juiced 

2 tbsp double cream (optional) 

whole nutmeg, for grating 

Instructions: 

Begin by pouring the chicken or vegetable stock into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then blanch the spinach and parsley in the stock for approximately 30 seconds, or until they are wilted and bright green. Then, remove them with a slotted spoon, so as to not to remove any of the stock, and leave them to cool for a moment. Next, turn down the stock in the saucepan to a low heat and squeeze out any of the excess liquid from the spinach and parsley. Then put the vegetables into a food processor, or small blender if you have one. Add two tablespoons of the olive oil and one tablespoon of the water, then blend them until a fine puree is produced and set it aside. 

Next, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan or skillet and fry the prosciutto until it is crispy. Once it is fried, transfer the prosciutto to a paper lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess grease and set it aside. Next, put half the butter, the thyme leaves, leek and garlic in the frying pan. Then scrape up any of the left-over crispy bits of the prosciutto and gently fry them all together for a few minutes over medium heat, until the leek is softened but not browning. Next, add the rice and stir it to coat it in the garlic mix. Cook the rice for approximately two minutes until it is translucent, then pour in the wine and cook it for an additional two minutes until it has evaporated. Then, add a ladle full of the warm stock and cook it with the rice mixture until it is absorbed, being sure to stir it continuously.  

Continue the process, ladle by ladle for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, stirring constantly. Do so until the rice is creamy but still retains a little but without a hard center.  

Once the rice is prepared, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, the parmesan, most of the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the cream.  Stir the spinach puree through the rice then season it well with a little nutmeg.  

Serve with the crisp prosciutto on top and enjoy! 

Commentary: 

As spring begins, I enjoy making dishes with spinach and other vegetables. This recipe is quite simple to make but can be changed to suite your tastes and needs. For example, if you’re not 21 years old, you can omit the wine. You can also cook the dish with chicken or another meat instead of the prosciutto and you can use ground nutmeg from your pantry as well. 

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