One of my aims in life is to make guys not notice that they are eating vegetables. This is one of those dishes.
As a person who loves to cook, I doubt I could exaggerate how much I owe to Jaffrey. Suffice to say, when I was about thirty, she was the first cooking writer I’d come across who made me happy. She doesn’t just tell you what to do, she gives you an understanding of what is happening, which I needed.
This dish comes from her massive World Vegetarian Cooking. A book like this, enormous both in size and range, it is more likely to have duds in it, than the books where she sticks to what she most closely knows. And, indeed, I imposed a rather dreary lentils dish on friends last year. Lunch today more than makes up for it! I paraphrase here.
One cup risotto rice
4 cups stock – I did cheat here and use chicken rather than vegetable. I’m yet to be convinced that a vegetable stock can be worthy.
1 small onion/shallot
lots of spinach washed and cut into pieces/strips – you can add quite a bit at the appropriate time and then add to taste as you watch it disappear in that way spinach does.
1/4 teasp cinammon
handful of pinenuts
handful of raisins
A good glug of olive oil: Jaffrey says 3 tablespoons
Butter cut into small dice, say 1 tblesp
Half a cup of grated parmesan cheese
While you are bringing the stock to the boil….when it is at the boil turn to low.
In a wide frying-pan – you might want non-stick if you have one about – Jaffrey says fry pinenuts in oil until golden. I did try this, but would by preference next time do what I usually do and dry fry them gently until going brown. Set aside the pinenuts – a slotted spoon is handy for this, I know because I don’t have one.
Fry the onion/shallot in the oil, medium high heat. When lightly brown, add the raisins, and maybe a minute or so later, the spinach. Saute for several minutes and add the rice and cinammon. Take the time to stir well to coat the rice with oil. Now start adding the stock, about half or three-quarters of a cup at a time. Stir diligently all the time while thinking about something interesting. As the stock disappears, add more. Jaffrey suggests it should cook for at least 22 minutes all up – I imagine in actuality that depends on the rice, but I was pretty much spot on that with mine. Once the stock has more or less done its thing: you don’t want it dry, remember, add the butter and cheese, stir to mix in well and then turn off. Sit for a bit. Serve garnished with the pinenuts, which you totally did NOT eat while you were cooking.
Serves: Jaffrey says this serves 3-4 people. Two of us gobbled it up.