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Spinach and Watercress Risotto

Risotto has a certain beauty to it. Simple pairings of flavours to create great results. What's more, they're highly flexible. You can start with a basic foundation and work your way towards new, complex flavours.

This one, I decided to use spinach, watercress and peas, along with our friend parmesan cheese, garlic and lemon. The idea here was to create a tasty vegetarian dish that could easily be paired with white meats. This will go with chicken, fish, pork, prawns... Have fun with it, after all, it's just rice.


- 2 Large Pots, one for stock and one for the risotto

- Blender

- Wooden spoon or other stirring device

- Sharp Knife

- Chopping Board

- Ladle


- 500g Aborio Rice (also works with short and medium grain rice)

- 2 Cups of Frozen Peas

- 1 Bag of spinach (I just weighed it, it's about 200g)

- The same amount of water cress

- 4 Brown Onions, half finely diced, the other half finely sliced.

- 500ml Vegetable stock - cube form is fine, if you're using oxo thats 2cubes, or 2 heaped teaspoons of bouillon

- 6 cloves of garlic, minced.

- 100ml cream

- Olive oil

- Lemon/Lemon Juice

- Fresh Oregano, chopped, around 2 tablespoons. Dried works too, just halve the amount

- 4-5 stalks of Flat-leaf parsley, stalks removed and finely chopped

- Sunflower seeds

- Salt

- Pepper


As far as I'm aware, most risottos are pretty similar. So we'll start by getting our two foundations ready:

Stock. The stock for this is going to be a combo of vegetable stock, peppery watercress and spinach. The way to do this is easy - Put the stock into a blender along with the spinach and watercress and blend. Add more water to make sure it is loose/watery. Transfer to a large pot, and turn to the lowest heat.

In the second large pot, with about three tablespoons of olive oil on a medium, saute the garlic, onion and parsley stalks until the onion is soft. Add the rice and toast for five minutes.

One ladle at a time, add the stock and stir until stock has absorbed into the rice. Continue this process, stirring constantly.

Just before your last ladle of stock, add the peas, cream, oregano, half the parsley leaves and a 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Stir that through, followed by your last ladle of stock.

By now it should be a rich green.

Taste it - you'll probably find it needs a decent hit of salt. Maybe it needs more liquid - it's quite variable - so just add a bit more water, a touch more salt, some pepper, maybe another dousing of lemon juice.

You'll find a balance. If it were a movie, imagine it starring earthy flavours spinach, watercress and oregano, with a supporting cast of tangy lemon, sweet peas, harmonizing cream with a group of featured extras.

Serve with sunflower seeds sprinkled over top, if you want. Will also go with white meats. Fish? Prawns.


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