Risotto with spinach, bacon and egg-lemon sauce

Lately, I have discovered I like rice more than I thought. Besides the fact that it’s an easy option for everyday cooking, it has also the advantage of being an ingredient that allows a lot of improvisation.

In Mediterranean cuisine, the risotto with spinach is a well-known nutritious dish. In Greek it is called spanakorizo. Based on the classic recipe, I created an alternative version, which immediately became popular among my friends. The main ingredient I introduced was bacon, giving it a light smoked aroma, while the final touch of the egg-lemon sauce -known as avgolemono in Greek- gives a creamy texture and a discrete sour-sweet flavor that makes this risotto unique.

Risotto with spinach, bacon and egg-lemon sauce in a flower-decorated plate

I always use fresh spinach, especially in a recipe like this one. The important thing here is to wash the spinach properly and many times with fresh water. My aunt, who is an amazing amateur cook, advised me to wash it in a pot with water 5 times, changing the water every time, until it’s completely clean.

The rice type also matters. I personally love how the parboiled, yellow long-grain rice works for this plate. In any case, make sure the rice you choose is appropriate for risotto and of good quality.

Last but not least, use olive oil.

Ingredients for the recipe: rice, spinach, bacon, egg, lemon juice, onion, olive oil and spices

For 3-4 servings you will need:

400 gr of fresh spinach
1 dry onion
2 fresh onions
fresh dill weed
2 slices of smoked bacon
280 gr of rice
½ glass of olive oil
3 soup spoons of apple vinegar
1,5 lt of boiling water
1 egg
the juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground pepper
lemon zest for serving

Steps to follow:

1. Chop the dry and fresh onions, some dill weed and the spinach quite thick
2. Cut the bacon into small square pieces
3. Boil the water in a pot and leave it apart
4. Put the olive oil in a deep pot and heat it for a few minutes
5. Add to the hot oil the chopped onions and 2-3 minutes later the bacon, with some salt and pepper
6. After 3-4 minutes lower the heat, add the rice and stir continuously until the rice becomes transparent
7. Add the spinach and the chopped dill weed and stir for 2 more minutes
8. Add the apple vinegar and let it simmer in low heat for a couple minutes
9. Start adding a bit of hot water, half a glass at a time
10. Keep adding hot water while the food is boiling whenever it's needed, always in small amounts. Taste and add some more salt and pepper if necessary. Depending on the type of rice, it takes approximately 20-25 minutes to cook. Make sure you add at least half glass of water more than what it needs. When the rice is cooked, there should still be some water in the pot
11. When the rice is almost ready, start preparing the egg-lemon sauce. Break the egg in a bowl and start whisking it softly, while adding the lemon juice very slowly. The egg-lemon sauce should look like a soft foam.
12. Start pouring, spoon by spoon, some of the rice water into the bowl with the egg-lemon sauce. Keep adding until it’s double as much as it was at the beginning.
13. Pour slowly the egg-lemon sauce into the pot and stir softly. The risotto will become creamy as soon as you add the sauce. Now turn off the heat and leave the pot on for a couple of minutes.

Close-up of risotto with spinach, bacon and egg-lemon sauce in a flower-decorated plate

Serve hot, with a bit of lemon zest and chopped fresh dill weed. Pour a couple of olive oil drops on the top.

If you want to keep some of the risotto for later, a good tip is to cover the pot first with a clean cotton towel and then with the pot lid. This way it will not dry.

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