There is something perfect about this dish just for the colors: in January, the yellows, greens and white are a welcome boost of brightness in a cold month characterized by long, dark evenings. You get the sense that you are eating well on multiple fronts. There is the gratification of carbs, the levity of the lemon zest, the subtle green notes of the leeks and spinach, and the salty tang of the Parmesan to bring it home.
PS: I’m a lazy risotto maker. I throw in one or two cups of broth at a time and let it do its thing, stirring not frequently but just occasionally. It always works out. Whatever the deal is with slooooowly adding broth and laboriously stirring, it’s overrated.
Lemon Risotto with Spinach and Leeks
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 leeks, white parts only, sliced lengthwise, rinsed and chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
salt + pepper
Warm the broth in a pot. In a large saucepan, saute leeks until soft. To the leeks, add the rice and stir for a couple minutes. To this, add the white wine and let that simmer for about 5 minutes. When the wine has been absorbed, begin adding broth – either the lazy way, or the labor-intensive way. Basically, you want to continue adding broth, stirring, and adding more as the rice absorbs it. When all the broth has been absorbed, turn heat off. Add parmesan and spinach and stir until mixed. Add the lemon zest and juice and blend. Salt and pepper to your liking and serve!