Spinach Risotto With Taleggio
This recipe, based on the nettle risotto from River Café in London, substitutes spinach, which is easier to find and less perilous to work with. It’s best made with mature, crinkly spinach, which has a more robustly mineral flavor than delicate baby leaves, but use whichever you can get. The melting taleggio makes the rice supremely creamy, and adds a funky earthiness. Note that it’s easiest to remove the rind and cut the cheese into cubes when it’s straight-from-the-fridge cold, then let it come to room temperature as you cook the rice. If you'd like to use an equal quantity of nettles here instead of spinach, you can.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 8ounces cold taleggio
- 10ounces/8 packed cups spinach, any thick stems removed
- 6tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1medium red onion, finely diced
- 3cups finely diced celery
- 2garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
- 1 ½cup Arborio rice
- 1teaspoon fine sea salt, more as needed
- ¾cup dry white wine
- 3 ½cups good vegetable or chicken stock
Step 1Cut the rind off the taleggio and discard. Dice the cheese into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside at room temperature as you prepare the rice.
Step 2Line a colander with a clean dish towel and place spinach inside. Heat about 8 cups of water until boiling, then pour over spinach; the spinach will wilt. Let spinach sit until cool enough to handle, then use the dish towel to squeeze out the water. Transfer spinach to a food processor and blend with 1 tablespoon butter until smooth. (You’ll end up with about 1 cup of purée.) Reserve.
Step 3Melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and garlic; cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in rice and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook until toasted and golden, about 5 minutes.
Step 4Stir in wine and cook until it’s absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often but not necessarily continuously, until the stock is finished and the rice is cooked through but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 5Stir in spinach purée, then taste and add more salt, if needed. Add taleggio and stir to melt. Serve immediately.