Toddlers & Young Children, Bigger Kids, Grown Ups
In my continued efforts to blog more veggie dishes here’s another popular family dinner at Chez Foti, my very green super-healthy risotto that I’ve actually been making for years as a quickie mid-week supper. Packed full of the good stuff as well as tastiness from the pesto and sun dried tommies this is an all round pleaser for littlies and big people alike.
It hit me a few months ago that I was sub-consciously shying away from giving the kids green dinners as for some daft reason I thought they wouldn’t buy it. How wrong was I. As long as the base flavour’s good they’ll eat anything, spinach and all. Since my moment of realisation I’ve been bombarding them with spinach and chard based risottos, pasta sauces, stir fries and thai green curries and so far they’ve happily gobbled down each and every one. And pesto being such a pleasing flavour to most littlies provides the perfect flavour vessel. In truth I’ve also shied away from risotto for the kids too as Francesca was never too keen, but she seems to be really enjoying them now. Rock on the risottos!
This was one of our first ‘freebie’ dinners of the year with most of the ingredients being picked fresh out of the garden, and notably used the first of many of the courgettes. I’ve seven plants which should ensure us in consistent supply for some time. The spinach, shallots and garlic were all Chez Foti homegrown too. Admittedly I used shop bought pesto for my risotto this time but I did make my own all last summer. The basil plants are all a little on the weeny side for pesto making as of yet this year.
Enough for a Family of Four or Three Big People
3 tablespoons of olive oil
a small onion or 2 shallots, very finely diced
a clove of garlic, finely chopped
220g of risotto rice
a small glass of white wine
700ml of hot vegetable stock (I like to use Marigold)
a courgette, diced
200g of spinach, washed and shredded
70g of drained sun dried tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons of homemade or shop bought pesto
salt and pepper
grated parmesan, to serve
Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan on a gentle heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Stir in the rice ensuring the grains get a good coating of oil. Pour in the wine and stir. Allow to simmer away on a gentle heat. Once the wine’s almost evaporated add a ladleful of the hot stock and continue to give everything a stir from time to time.
Once the stock has been absorbed by the rice add another ladleful. Once this has been absorbed stir in another ladleful together with the diced courgette. Continue to stir at intervals adding further ladlefuls of hot stock every time the last one is absorbed. If you run out of stock before the rice is tender add a little boiling water.
When the rice is almost tender stir in the shredded spinach, sun dried tomatoes, pesto and a generous pinch of black pepper.
Once the rice is cooked and spinach wilted remove from the heat. Taste and add more pepper to suit. You probably won’t need to add any salt as there’s plenty in the stock and pesto.
Serve with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan.