Risotto is to Ticino  what spaghetti is to Naples.  The following recipe comes from Marian Burros, New York Times food columnist.  Be sure to use Arborio rice — regular rice for risotto will not do.  This recipe makes three large servings.  With a green salad and sliced tomatoes, it’s a meal.  Experiment with risotto.  You can add other vegetables, mushrooms, shrimp, etc. 

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 cups chicken stock

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup Marsala

1 pound loose fresh spinach

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt, if desired, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Saute the onion in hot oil in a large, heavy pot until onion has softened.  Meanwhile heat the chicken stock in a separate pot. Add the rice to the onion and stir to coat, add the Marsala and cook until liquid has been absorbed. Wash spinach throughly and trim off tough ends.

Add one cup of stock to risotto and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed.  Repeat with remaining stock, one cup at a time.

Just before adding last cup of stock, stir in spinach, mustard, garlic and cook until last cup of liquid has been absorbed, and rice is soft but firm (al dente) and mixture is creamy.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.  Pass the grated cheese.

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