Spinach risotto with pine nuts and raisins

From Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. A wonderful cookbook with an amazing breadth of recipes.

Ms. Jaffrey says to use unwashed risotto rice to get at all the starch- a shocking idea for a compulsive food washer like me! A good risotto, she says, is adult 'nursery food', with an assertive density, and a decided bite. Never undercooked, but firm and creamy, like well-cooked pasta.

I took a leap of faith and followed the instructions, down to the unwashed rice.  The end result was a gorgeous risotto- simple, creamy, perfect.


4 cups light vegetable stock ( I used one stock cube dissolved in 4 cups hot water)
3 tbsp olive oil ( I used one tbsp)
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 small onion, finely chopped ( I did not use it)
1 tbsp golden raisins
10 oz fresh spinach, washed, dried, chopped
1 cup unwashed risotto rice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tbsp unsalted butter, diced

Heat the stock and keep it hot over low heat.

Pour the oil in a large, heavy saute pan. ( I used a dutch oven.) When hot, add the pine nuts. Fry them until golden brown. Remove.

Now add the onion to the oil. Fry it for a minute, and add the raisins. Stir a few times and add the spinach. Fry for a few minutes, and add the rice and cinnamon. Fry for another minute.

Pour in a ladleful of stock. Turn the heat to medium and keep stirring. As the stock gets absorbed, keep adding another ladleful and stirring. Keep doing it until all the stock is gone, for at least 22 minutes.

Add and stir in the cheese and butter, until well mixed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat. Let the risotto rest for a minute, then serve with pine nuts sprinkled on top.

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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15 Responses to Spinach risotto with pine nuts and raisins

  1. Waterbaby says:

    You know, in all my years of cooking, I've never tried my hand at risotto. I understand from those in the risotto know that creating the perfect risotto is an art, much like creating pasta is for the Italians.

  2. Emjay says:

    LOL WB – I"m following you around this evening! My ex-husband used to make a fabulous wild mushroom risotto – but then he was Italian! Purplesque: I love the idea of pinenuts and raisins together.

  3. Waterbaby says:

    Yes, they take their risotto very personally. I'd love to try some but only when I'm assured by a risotto genius that it's authentic and of quality. The ex sounds like a possible source! (?)

  4. Brown Suga' says:

    *sigh* Isn't there a way to favourite ALL your recipe posts? I'm sick of favouriting individual posts to read them later!

  5. lauowolf says:

    I love her cookbooks.She wrote my first Indian cookbook, and she's really clear, and stuff always comes out right.Risotto is one of those things that looks harder than it is.You have to believe the recipe though.No thinking… can't be that much cheese, or the like.

  6. Jabulani says:

    YY4MT (Yummy yummy 4 my… well, you get the picture I'm sure!!)
    Oooooo, you've just reminded me. Years ago my brother-in-law gave me an MH cookbook. I've just dragged it off my crammed recipes bookshelf and dusted it off. I shall have to go look …
    But until then, I'll just cook this. Kids will love it; hubby will grumble cos it doesn't have meat, and consists of "rice and green stuff". Pfft, if you're hungry and don't want to cook for yourself hubby-dear, EAT IT! (Might just relent and put prawns in it…he likes prawns!)
    Btw, thanks for the pies recipe. It was a complete and utter hit with kids (and me). Photos on TW in about 5 minutes!

  7. homebody says:

    I'm never thought of cinnamon and olive oil as working together, but this sounds (and looks) absolutely heavenly. That's a very appetizing photo as well.

  8. Purplesque says:

    So I hear. I had tried a mushroom risotto once before; it was passable. (Funny as it may sound, I don't care for the flavor of wine in food.) This one, though, is a real gem. I will be making risottos often.

  9. Purplesque says:

    🙂 They do work well together. I would have never thought to add raisins in a risotto- but they were fabulous!

  10. Purplesque says:

    😀 I will take that as a Huge compliment. Maybe I should try my hand at the new fad- tweeting a recipe in 140 words or less. That way you don't have to save them for later!

  11. Purplesque says:

    Madhur Jaffrey is a genius! I love her approach- food for food's sake; no fancy frills, no over-complicated recipes, but she makes everything work. Which one of her books do you have? I remember making a simple Asian broth with cucumber from her Asian cookbook- it was out-of-this-world good.You are so right about the no-thinking part- especially true for her recipes.

  12. Purplesque says:

    So glad you and the family enjoyed the pies. I get a huge kick when someone actually tries one of the recipes I post, and it turns out well.Do try the risotto- it is so good! MJ also has quite a few all-inclusive cookbooks in addition to the vegetarian ones. World Vegetarian is my favorite, though- she has combined similar recipes from very different countries, and I am fascinated by how diverse yet how similar we all are.

  13. Purplesque says:

    🙂 Thank you. I thought of omitting the cinnamon- it did not make much sense to me. Glad I took the leap of faith, though- this is one of those dishes where everything just works perfectly together.

  14. Daughter 1 loves rissotto so I am sending this recipe to her – thanks!

  15. You have hit the mark. It seems to me it is very excellent thought. Completely with you I will agree.

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