Veggie dishes and veggie likings - a rabe and spinach risotto to tickle your fancies
We tend to make a few "vegetarian" meals during the week, despite our love of meat and fish and dairy and all things sinful and that make us ugly human beings. (not really, we're very good looking, really, particularly our son.) But we do like to keep our food as varied as possible, and we always include vegetables as a side dish - meaning I do, and then force them to eat them veggies, which has resulted in the kiddo asking for specific veggies to go with specific dishes and hubby to serve himself those veggies without me having to shout at him to eat some greens. Applause for me, and a pat on my own back, thank you very much.
Like I say so many times, we don't do the fad thingy, so we eat what we want to eat. Last saturday for instance, we gorged ourselves on tiny little batter covered fried fish - European Spratt, to be more specific and in case you were wondering! - a yogurt dip for the fish and a homemade humus. That was dinner. And it was good. It's not like we eat fry ups every single day, but once in a while they do happen. Enter the "health" police and call me a fat cow. I also like to delight myself in baked bries with sundried tomatoes, baked camemberts with dried cranberries and all sorts of patés, adding a rustic baguette to the meal for better comfort. We do this, sometimes, on a Saturday. We like these kind of dinners on a Saturday. It's our thing. We may or may not have soup and veggies on those days, it doesn't matter. If there's no indulgence whatsoever, if we don't get to once in a while dig into what we love, then what's the point?
I hardly eat carbs during the week, although I cook them for husband and son. I go for veggies all the time, yeah, because I'm not twenty anymore and my metabolism is shit since I had a child. I eat pasta and rice maybe once, twice a week, and it's not like I miss it, nope. I love vegetables and am quite content to eat them by themselves as well, I've been known to. And in order to do this, I keep my freezer well stocked with frozen veggies. Enter the purists telling me I should only eat fresh veggies, and I should take myself to the market or the supermarket every single day so I buy different qualities and types and this introduce variety in my meals. Only... nope. I like what I like, and I may go to the market on a Saturday morning and bring home some cabbage, some pumpkin, watercress, or whatever catches my eye, and still I will have frozen peas and runner beans, frozen rabe and spinach, and always a frozen mix of veggies, usually minestrone veggies. That's how I roll, these are the veggies I like the most. So these are the ones I eat the most.
But I do partake of the food that makes me happy, and we all know by now that risotto makes me the happiest of people, so I tend to have risotto once a week, on a Friday, since the huge bag of arborio rice incident. I have cooked a few risottos already, mainly those tried and tested like mushroom risotto or my personal pota risotto, which is a severe favourite around here. I have also played with new combos, like liver risotto and cod risotto, and am still waiting on ideas for the risotto later tonight - all else failing I'm cooking another mushroom risotto again, it's like the easiest way to get dinner on the table and everyone loves it. Tried, tested and approved, plus it will make for another "vegetarian" meal on the table, despite the fact that this week we have had a few already. Not that anyone's complaining, but I am reaching a point where I crave for a lamb or vennison roast like a mad woman, so I guess I know what Sunday dinner's gonna be...
This particular risotto happens to be something I have been wanting to try for quite sometime, but because I was having other requests - my son can be very imaginative when suggesting risottos - I had it on the backburner for a while. But in the end, I stamped my foot down and said I was cooking this, and they said yeah, great sounds really good, and in fact it was, so good everyone was going for seconds! It's a rabe and spinach risotto, and it's easy to cook, so easy. All it really asks for is patience and love, while you pour laddle after laddle of stock into your rice and stir away at it. The rabe and the spinach are cooked on the side, and later added to the risotto along with the cheese and a small knob of butter - I always make it a very small knob, when I even allow the butter to enter into my risottos! I know it's the proper way to cook one, adding the butter and the cheese in the end, but I tend to keep the butter out most times. The cheese, well, that's a different story altogether, and it works wonders here. So do yourselves a favour and try this one out for a ride, you won't be sorry.
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 l vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup of arborio rice
- 250 gr frozen spinach
- 200 gr frozen rabe
- 1 leek
- 2 or 3 stalks of cellery
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a pinch of dried garlic powder
- 1 glass of white wine + a dash more
- olive oil
- dash of lemon juice
- salt, pepper and a handful of parmigianno freshly grated