Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto

“Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food.” –Craig Claiborne

For some reason I did not get any artistic genes. I can’t paint, draw, sing (except when I play the Susu game ‘Sing Serious’ and belt out When a Man Loves a Woman), act, pose with pursed lips into a camera, heck my handwriting isn’t even good. BUT- I do have love and respect for food. When I browse for recipes, the pictures of food are what first catch my eye and captivate me.  The radiant colors from fresh ingredients, the placement of food on a clean plate, the garnishes, and the drizzled sauce designs for the overall appearance of the dish are all ART and crafted with purpose. The Tomato-Basil and Spinach Risotto immediately grabbed my attention for those reasons and the vibrant red and green colors in the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tlbs butter
  • 1/2 Shallot, minced
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Arborio Rice
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Container of Grape Tomatoes (about 25)
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated

To begin, heat on low butter in a sauce pan and heat chicken broth in a separate pot. Add the shallots to the heated butter and saute until they are clear. Next add in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, adding salt and pepper to season.

shallot

Then add in the arborio rice, making sure it is covered in the butter.

rice

Next add in the white wine, I used Pinot Grigio, and make sure to continuously stir the rice mixture.wine

Now for the heated chicken broth on the back burner. Add the broth one ladle at a time to rice. The key is to ‘just keep stirring, just keep stirring’ and slowly add ladle by ladle. This takes about 15 minutes.

stock

After all of the broth is absorbed, add the grape tomatoes followed by the spinach and basil leaves.tom spinache

The final step is to grate the parmesan cheese on top!

cheese

I served the risotto with tilapia, a fresh water white fish. I prepared the fish by splashing it with lemon juice, sprinkling on lemon pepper seasoning, and then placing panco breadcrumbs on tops. I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Note: I would recommend first browning the fish on the stove in some olive oil to create a crispy outside. My fish was too bland and needed a crunch to mix up the soft texture.final

Please leave me your suggestions on how to perfect the act of cooking tilapia!

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