500g Italian “Arborio” rice
½ k of spinach (A hint – If you don’t have fresh spinach use the frozen chopped spinach – it can save a lot of extra cooking)
Smoked “Provola cheese (A hint from Zia Mirella – you can use mozzarella as Italian Provola cheese may be harder to find )
2 tins of peeled tomatoes
A small carrot
2 sticks of celery
Add any other herbs that you have in your kitchen – Thyme, Tarragon, Parsley)
Half a glass of dry white wine ( you can also use red wine)
1 litre chicken stock
A nob of butter
1 small finely chopped onion
150g of grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preparation for the Risotto:
Put a large nob of butter and the finely chopped onion into a large frying pan
Let the onion turn a pale golden color – not brown – add the rice .
Stir the rice until it is well impregnated with the butter.
Then pour in some of the white wine and stir it on a moderate flame until the wine has been nearly all absorbed.
You can start to add in the stock now , about a ½ tea cup at a time, keeping the stock lightly simmering in another pan.
Stir in the broth slowly
As it absorbs add more stock.
It should take approx. 20-30 minutes
( A hint – use a wooden spoon rather than a metal one as it doesn’t break the rice grains )
When the risotto is nearly ready add a couple of table spoons of parmesan cheese.
Preparation for the sauce:
Chop the carrot, onion, celery – you can do this in your mixer.
Put the mixture into a heavy pan or casserole with a little olive oil.
Let it gently cook until the mixture is soft
Add the rest of the white or red wine and continue cooking until the wine has slightly evaporated.
Now add the 2 tins of peeled tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for approximately 20-30 minutes.
At the end just before serving add the chopped up Provola cheese or the mozzarella.
In the meantime you have steamed the spinach, ready to chop finely.
Fill a baking dish with the mixture
Bake in an oven that you have previously heated to 200° for about 8-10 minutes.
Serve the risotto with your tomato sauce on the side or spread a little over the rice once it is turned out over onto a serving dish .