Spinach risotto with fresh ricotta and hazelnuts

Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Soy Free

4 Servings, 610 Calories/Serving

35 - 45 Minutes

It’s a common misconception that, to be properly cooked, risotto must be stirred constantly and the cooking liquid added only a little at a time. You can see for yourself in this easy recipe. We add the liquid all at once, then stir occasionally, and it comes out wonderfully creamy and luscious. Wilted baby spinach and crunchy hazelnuts, plus lemon, basil, and Parmesan, all transform the humble rice dish into something exceptional.


  • 2 or 3 shallots
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh basil
  • ½ pound baby spinach
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta



Prep the shallots, garlic, and thyme

  • Peel and finely chop enough shallots to measure ½ cup.
  • Finely chop, press, or grate enough garlic to measure 2 teaspoons.
  • Strip the thyme leaves from the stems.


Make the risotto

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the shallots, garlic, and thyme, season generously with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the rice and cook until the edges of the rice look translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup white wine or water and cook until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adding up to 1 cup more water if dry, until the rice is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.
While the risotto cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients.


Prep the remaining ingredients

  • Coarsely chop the hazelnuts for garnish.
  • Zest the lemon.
  • Juice the lemon.
  • Strip the basil leaves from the stems; coarsely tear the leaves.


Finish the risotto

Add the lemon zest, basil, and spinach to the risotto, stirring until the spinach is just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons butter, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



Transfer the risotto to individual bowls. Garnish with the ricotta and hazelnuts and serve.

Chef’s tip When zesting citrus, try to remove only the outermost zest and as little of the white pith beneath as possible. The zest holds all the fragrant essential oils, while the pith tastes bitter. A fine-toothed grater is ideal; the finer holes on a box grater will work but can take off too much of the white stuff.

Kids can!
  • Press the garlic (if you have a press).
  • Strip the thyme leaves.
  • Juice the lemon.
  • Strip and tear the basil leaves.
  • Serve the meal.

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 610, Protein: 20g, Total Fat: 26g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.5g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Carbohydrates: 73mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 4g, Added Sugars (Chicken broth contains trace amounts of organic cane sugar): 0g, Sodium: 690mg
Contains: tree nuts, milk

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