Green Hulk Risotto
By Dyan Solomon
I don’t have kids myself, but I definitely love Sarahmée, my business partner Eric’s daughter. Eric and his family are basically family to me, so when I get a chance to cook for these lovelies, I make things we can all eat: “adult” food, but not too weird to freak out the little one (lucky for me, so far Sarah mée eats absolutely everything). This recipe has an ice dose of greens and is very vibrant in colour. That’s the real draw for kids: it’s not a “vegetable” green, but more of a “Hulk” green — a huge difference in a child’s mindset, so be sure to mention this a couple of times. And once they put it in their mouths (fingers crossed), they’ll realize this risotto is creamy, cheesy, and very comforting. Just tell them it will make them grow up big and strong, like the Hulk! And if that doesn’t work, bribe them with my cookies for dessert.
SERVES 4 TO 6
PREP TIME: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes
- ¼ cup butter, plus more to serve 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup arborio rice
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock, plus more to serve
- 1½ tsp salt Pepper
- 1 container baby spinach (about 150 g/5 oz)
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley Zest of 4 lemons
- 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Grated Parmesan, to taste Lemon juice, to taste
MAKE THE RISOTTO: In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are coated and translucent. Add the wine and reduce until the rice is almost dry.
Add a ladleful of stock and continue cooking, stirring all the while, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the remaining stock, waiting until the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. When the rice is just slightly undercooked, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking sheet. Place in the fridge to stop the cooking.
MAKE THE PURÉE: In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the spinach and parsley. Wring them dry in a clean dish towel to remove the excess water. Roughly chop the greens and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lemon zest, garlic, pepper, and oil. Process until the greens are puréed. Place the mixture in a metal bowl set over an ice bath to keep the colour vibrant. Pass through a sieve if the purée is stringy.
TO SERVE:In a medium pot, gently heat the cold rice with a pat of butter and a ladleful of stock. Add the green purée, grated Parmesan, and lemon juice to taste. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed and serve.
Joanna Fox has written about food, restaurants, wine, travel, art and culture for newspapers and magazines, including The Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, enRoute, Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Style at Home and Bon Appétit. She is currently an editor at ELLE Canada and was previously an editor at Ricardo, working on the company’s magazine and cookbooks. She is the co-author of Chuck’s Day Off by Chuck Hughes, the editor of Olive + Gourmando: The Cookbook by Dyan Solomon and collaborates on cookbook projects with chefs from coast to coast. Joanna lives in Montreal with her partner and their own little critic, their son.Little Critics: What Canadian Chefs Cook for Kids (and Kids Will Actually Eat) is out now.
Excerpted from Little Critics: What Canadian Chefs Cook for Kids (and Kids Will Actually Eat) by Joanna Fox. Foreword by Frederic Morin. Copyright © 2022 Joanna Fox. Photography by Dominique Lafond. Photos on pages, 30, 31, 88, 89, 91, 124, 125, 212, 213, 220, 221, 237, 248, 253, 254, 255, and 256 by Maya Visnyei; and on pages 60, 61, 84, and 253 by Viranlly Liemena. Book Design by Talia Abramson. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.