I love spring! It ushers in all sorts of fresh produce and pretty green things. This vibrant green spinach risotto has such a bright flavor thanks to parsley and lemon AND the crispy prosciutto makes it feel indulgent.
Making risotto is such an exercise in mindfulness. It truly is one of my favorite dinners to cook. It’s naturally gluten-free and can easily be made vegetarian with vegetarian stock and no prosciutto. Although, I highly recommend the prosciutto, which gets crisped in a skillet and added as a garnish.
If you’ve never made risotto, then rest assured–it’s quite easy but just takes some active stirring and an understanding of what’s happening in the pan. I’ll share all my pro tips today, so you’ll be sure to turn out a fabulous meal.
Top Tips For Making Risotto
Use a Large Pan. The volume of rice will expand as it cooks, and you want to give the rice plenty of room to cook for the fastest cook time.
Use Chicken or Vegetable Stock. While you may be able to get the texture of risotto with water, you definitely want to use either a broth (contains salt) or stock (no salt added) for the most flavor.
Use Fat. While olive oil is a fantastic choice, I decided to go with butter for this risotto. You just want a good amount of fat, and either one works. However, I don’t recommend skipping the parmesan because it really adds umami. I like to finish the risotto with a splash of heavy cream and butter for richness. Totally optional.
Use Arborio Rice. Risotto gets it’s signature creamy texture from a short grain white rice that gets stirred for about 30 minutes, releasing some starch. I recommend Arborio rice for the best texture.
Add Warm Stock One Ladleful at a Time, Stirring Constantly Until Absorbed. It takes a lot of stirring to create that signature creamy texture. The rice is done when it has a little bite without a chalky core, usually about 30 to 40 minutes of cook time.
Add Your Add-Ins At the Very End. When the rice is cooked, stir in your seasoning: spinach puree, lemon juice and zest, parmesan, cream, and nutmeg. You will get the best flavor (and green color) by adding these delicate ingredients at the last moment. ***Also, don’t forget to salt, salt, and salt some more (to taste, of course).
There you have it. My top tips for making risotto from scratch. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. I’m going to link down below to a few more spring recipes you might enjoy.
More Spring Recipes:
- Refreshing Mint Lime Soda
- Asparagus Watercress Salad with Rotisserie Chicken
- Baked Salmon with Parsley Garlic Crust
- Creamy Rhubarb Lime Sorbet
I first saw this spinach risotto recipe on BBC Good Food and just adapted the recipe based on the cook times and measurements that worked best for me during testing.
Spinach and Lemon Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto
- 64 ounces vegetable or chicken stock you can use broth, but then you won't need to add as much salt
- 4 ounces baby spinach about 2 handfuls
- 1 bunch parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 4 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted work fine
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves only
- 1 leek white and light green part finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio risotto rice rinsed
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups finely grated parmesan
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 2 tablespoons cream optional
- whole nutmeg for grating
- Pour the stock into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and parsley and blanch for 30 seconds until wilted and bright green (turn the heat down to low). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the greens to a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and pulse to form a fine puree and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large pan or skillet and fry the prosciutto until crisp, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter, the thyme leaves, leek and garlic in the pan and season with a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until softened and aromatic but not browning, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, stirring to coat for 2 minutes, then pour in the wine and allow to evaporate. Add one ladleful of the warm stock and cook until absorbed, stirring continuously.
- Continue adding stock 1 ladleful at a time and stirring for 30-40 minutes, until the rice is creamy but still retaining a little bite and without a chalky core. When the rice is fully cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the parmesan, lemon zest and juice, and cream (if using). Stir in the spinach puree, and season well with nutmeg. Serve immediately and salt to taste. Store for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.