French Fridays with Dorie – Creamy Cheesy Garlicky Rice with Spinach

Last night, I went in autopilot while doing the  prep work for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe.  All week long, I had rationalized the recipe as “risotto with a splash of cream”.  Chicken stock fortified with vegetable bouillon simmered in the back burner, onions and garlic sautéed  in a large shallow pan… and then I decided to look at the recipe.

Uh-oh.  This wasn’t the sauté, ladle, stir routine ingrained in my brain.  The stock went up to a boil, and I grimaced as I poured the rice into the pot.  Arborio rice is pretty forgiving, and after twenty minutes, the rice looked creamy/starchy – like almost like ‘real’ risotto.  Up to that point, it also tasted pretty good.  After folding in the spinach, onion, and garlic, I was almost convinced this would be okay after all – risotto with “less” work.  Parmesan cheese and cream went in, and after one last stir we sat down for dinner.  Eduardo declared it tasty, but I was thrown off by the texture.

Although adding cream to the rice seemed intriguing on paper, I don’t think I would do this recipe again as written.  An alternate method would be to sauté the onion and garlic in butter, toast the rice with the aromatics, add the boiling stock and cook until done, and then stir in the wilted spinach, cheese, and butter.

The rice was the side dish for boneless 1-inch thick pork chops quick-marinated in an oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt/white pepper paste thrown together in the food processor. The chops cooked in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat while the rice simmered.

The Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach was this week’s chosen recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, an online cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.   Check out how the rest of the home cooks did with this recipe here!

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

32 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie – Creamy Cheesy Garlicky Rice with Spinach”

  1. September 9, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    Yum, this was lovely wasn’t it? Though I liked mine better the day after. I also did not read the recipe and was surprised at the instructions but it worked out really well. Good to know another tecnique to cook arborio.

  2. September 9, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    It was too thick and creamy texturally, but nobody complained so I guess it was a winner at home. Like Mardi, I also liked this better the next day and I’m definitely adding lemon and basil to give the rice a bit more zing!

  3. September 9, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Mmmmm…that plate looks REALLY good!!! Beautiful~and glad you enjoyed. I was expecting to make this like a traditional risotto until I actually started making it, too~

  4. September 9, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    I confess, I didn’t follow directions and cooked it via the “alternate” method. Boiling rice & I are not friends – somehow it always ends badly…
    It looks lovely, especially with those pork chops!

    • September 9, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      I was especially wary because I always cook ‘regular’ rice on my rice cooker. Through the research I’ve made on short grain rices for paella I figured Arborio would be very hard to ruin and went with the method Dorie suggested. I actually liked how it came out – Arborio is very forgiving, although it absorbs a LOT of liquid.

  5. September 9, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Ooh, I like your shaped mound of rice! Great presentation!

    • September 9, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      Measuring cups come in handy for plating! I have a set with flat bottoms (I used the 1/2 cup this time) and another set that’s rounded.

  6. September 9, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Sorry this wasn’t one of your favorites! It looks good, though.

  7. September 9, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    I like your dinner idea…great side with steak. Very pretty presentation. Sometimes our tried and true methods work out better for us.

  8. September 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Sorry it didn’t turn out like you expected but it looks beautiful on the plate!

  9. September 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Yours looks nice even though not what you expected 🙂

  10. September 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I like how your spinach is so prominent – looks pretty! Mine was not as nice looking but it tasted great.

  11. September 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    It looks amazing – sorry it wasn’t a hit for you, though! 🙂

  12. Confessions of a Culinary Diva
    September 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    I completely agree with you and would use the traditional method. I think that not only is the texture better, the rice has a more nutty flavor when toasted and gives a better and more complex flavor profile.

    Happy French Friday!

  13. Karen
    September 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    It looks beautiful! I like how you presented it on the plate. You may not have liked the texture, but I hope you liked the flavors.

  14. September 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    I love the way your molded the rice on the plate. Sorry this didn’t meet your expectations. I loved the cheesy goodness of it. I’ll bet it was great with the pork chops!

  15. September 10, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    Sorry you didn’t like the cream in it, Adriana. Your alternative method of cooking it sounds really good. I hope everything is okay with you there!

    • September 10, 2011 at 6:10 am #

      Just woke up to find that the storm’s eye shifted north overnight, so we are now out of the path. There should still be some rain and wind, but thankfully it will be from the outer bands. Phew!

  16. September 10, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    It was an incredibly rich dish, I loved the taste but could only take it in small amounts.
    I wondered what could be substituted for the cream as well, maybe just milk? Not sure if that would change texture much?
    Your photos look fantastic though!

  17. September 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    It looks like it turned out ok, maybe next time if you change the method up a bit, you will feel differently about the dish? I liked how mine turned out and it was sure tasty the next day! 🙂

  18. September 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    its quite the rich set of ingredients for Arborio, as many recipes rely on the creaminess of the reice itself rather than adding extra cream. You may be able to do without it, given the cheese and stock…yours looks lovely and we served our version with pork too!

  19. September 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    I’m almost glad that I made the wrong thing yesterday. I’ve learned so many things from reading everyone’s experience with this dish. I definitely think I’ll saute the onions beforehand. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  20. September 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    Wow, that’s stunning! I love garlic, rice, spinach….everything sounds yummy! I bet it was amazing!

  21. Teresa
    September 11, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    I’m sorry it wasn’t a winner for you, but it looks beautiful!

  22. September 11, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Well at least it made the Top 9!
    Sure does sound rich, nice pairing with pork chop.
    LL

  23. Margaret
    September 11, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    I haven’t made this yet but it looks so tasty I know it is in the near future. Yours looks perfectly delicious.

  24. September 11, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I have a habit of making assumptions about recipes at least you actually read it. I love this idea i can well imagine it pulling together an tasting better the next day.

  25. September 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I too use a rice cooker. I see we both were in a pork chop state of mind. I like your suggestion though> I shall try it next time.

  26. Charm
    September 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Ok so i am new to this board, and would love to try this… but i cant seem to see the actual recipe?? I know I know, its probably right in front of my face!

    • September 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      As part of French Fridays with Dorie we normally do not share the recipes to encourage everyone to seek a copy of Around My French Table. It’s definitely one of my favorite cookbooks!

  27. September 17, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    Sorry you did not like the turn out but it is good enough for me:D

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