Rough weather risotto…


Rough weather risotto...

So what do you do when you come in out of the deluge that the local rain gods have chosen to favour your region with and you feel damp and a tad despondent – and you look in the fridge and there is a hatful of fresh spinach left over from Monday…and then you see the bowl of toasted pine nuts that are also left over from Monday making a pass at you from a kitchen shelf?

Only one thing to do – a spinach and pine nut risotto!

Bliss in a bowl bestowed upon you with basic ingredients that warm and soothe away the aches and melancholy induced by the foul ferocious weather of ferrel February.

For 4 fair folk

1 onion finely chopped
75 gm unsalted butter
400 gm arborio rice
1 glass of white wine
1.5 litres of chicken stock
salt and pepper
A handy hatful of spinach washed and chopped roughly
60 gm parmesan cheese grated
100 gm toasted pine nuts

Fry the onion in half the butter until soft and transparent. I use a large stainless steel sauté pan. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with the butter and onions. Add the wine and stir well. After 1 minute stir in a ladleful of stock.. Stir gently then add more stock. Continue like this for about 20 minutes – put some good music on and open a bottle of red to see you through. The rice will become soft and tender but the grains will remain firm – perfect. Season with a grind or two of sea salt and black pepper.

Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the butter, the spinach and the parmesan. Stir thoroughly and cover. Leave it to rest for two minutes, then serve in warmed bowls – top with the toasted pine nuts.

A brilliant way to use up two key ingredients left over from Monday’s bit of magic. This has to be a real favourite risotto of mine.

Simple and satisfying on a stormy eve.

Monday night magic…a pasta dish to pacify the beast


Monday night magic...a pasta dish to pacify the beast

This is one of those dishes that just comes together like a dream and furnishes your taste buds with more flavours than you could shake a wooden spoon at. It is a dish that possibly every household has a version of – well this is mine and I am still in a miasma of pasta perfection.

I will do my best to give you the recipe!

Chicken, Spinach and Pine Nut Cream Pasta

For 4

2 chicken breasts sliced in to strips
2 cloves of garlic chopped
250 ml chicken stock
250 ml single cream
4 or 5 good handfuls of spinach
5 strips of smoked bacon chopped
6 sundried tomatoes chopped
Handful of basil
Black pepper
100 gm toasted pine nuts

Pan fry the chicken for 5 minutes with the garlic. Add the stock. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the sun dried tomatoes.
Put the pasta on – I used fusilli but tagliatelle would work too. I used 400 gm for 4.

Add the cream and the torn basil to the chicken and a good grind or two of black pepper. In a separate pan fry the bacon til just crisping. Put to one side. Add the spinach to the chicken and stir on a low light until the spinach is wilting and the cream sauce starting to bubble gently. Add the bacon and stir again gently.

Drain the pasta and share between four bowls. Add a portion of the sauce to each and then top with the pine nuts.


I drank a full bodied dark shiraz with this and it was a marriage that will last.

A dish to play with too – certainly – you could add even more bacon – or dried chilli flakes – whatever grabs your fancy!

A pasta for every passing Popeye to drool over!