Green Risotto with Lemon and Almonds
This risotto is brilliant as the weather gets warmer and you feel like eating less but brighter. It has a lovely southern Italian twist vs a typical pesto thanks to the almonds and spinach. We love it with a linear Sicilian oil such as Nocellara Etnea from the volcanic soils of Mt. Etna. Serves 4.
1–1.5 litres vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
400g arborio or carnaroli rice
200ml white wine
A swirl of extra virgin olive oil to finish
Crème Fraiche to serve
FOR THE PESTO
240g Raw young leaf spinach, carefully washed
30g raw peeled almonds
1 clove of garlic, peeled
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
100ml extra virgin olive oil
a large bunch of basil leaves (50g)
a small handful for the top
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g freshly grated Pecorino
Start with the pesto, blending all of the ingredients together to form a vivid green paste – you should taste and add more olive oil or lemon as needed.
Put your vegetable stock in a pan and place over a low heat to warm.
Heat a saucepan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and the onion and fry for about 5 minutes – then remove the onion, which will have flavoured the oil. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn the heat up to high, add the rice and a little more oil if needed and toast the grains stirring regularly for a few minutes or until they turn slightly translucent. Pour in the white wine and allow to evaporate, stirring all the time. Add a ladleful of the hot stock and stir until it evaporates, then continue this process until all the stock is used. This should take about 17 minutes.
The risotto is perfectly cooked when the rice is al dente: break a grain of rice finger and you should be able to see a fleck of white in the middle. Remove from the heat. Add a swirl of olive oil and half the remaining cheese, season with salt and pepper and stir through the pesto. Put a lid on the risotto and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
If the risotto looks a little thick, add a little more stock.
To serve, give a swirl of crème fraiche or sour cream and decorate with a few of the basil leaves and a little lemon zest as well as a final few drops of extra virgin olive oil.
A dish such as this loves a wild and aromatic oil such as Nocellara Etnea from the volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily.