power greens risotto

So we have lots of risotto specific cookbooks as well as several books from our reliable Marcella Hazan written last century, but alas no interesting recipes in any of them with power greens, even just with spinach. So bob decided pwer greens in padella (namely sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil) would do the job, and ani volunteered to add some beans, borlotti beans were keeping in the Italian tradition, and we had some on hand. They are these purple speckled white beans, who knows if they taste any better than cannellini beans or not but the name certainly has some cache. bob insisted that all the greens go into the mix, ani was reluctant, too much green for too little arborio rice. But veggies beat rice (carbs!) like scissors beat paper (or whatever, bob never played that game).

So this recipe was born, and immediately appreciated. Another success for the dr bob cooking team, executed by the talented ms_ani. The green to rice ratio works. Try it!


3/4 c arborio rice
1 onion, chopped (red or yellow, we used red)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil for sauteeing
1 1.5 lb bag of power greens, pre-cooked by steaming in a big pot with a bit of water
a it of good white wine (we used Falinghina, not bad)
veggie or chicken broth cubes/whatever
some red pepper flakes to taste, don't overdo it
1 14oz (400g) can borlotti beans
1  T butter
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano plus extra to top off each serving
some fresh parsley for garnish, chopped


  1.  Either before or in parallel with the risotto startup, cook the power greens.
  2. This is a typical risotto. Saute the chopped onion in olive oil and toss in the garlic when the onion is softened. cook without overdoing it.
  3. Add in the rice.
  4. Then add in some good white wine, maybe a half cup? Stir around the rice letting the wine evaporate.
  5. Meanwhile have some water boiling in a teapot. Add some boiling water with the broth cubes/powder whatever to the rice mixture and begin the simmering phase.
  6. As the broth reduces, add in more broth 1/2 c at a time, the usual risotto process. Continue some 15 minutes.
  7. Then stir in the greens and borlotti beans and warm through as the rice finishes cooking.
  8. Remove from the heat.
  9. Finish off by stirring in the butter and parmigiano and sprinkle the parsley on the surface.
  10. Let sit 5 minutes to settle down.
  11. Serve with another hit of grated parmigiano, maybe some freshly ground pepper, up to you.
  12. Enjoy.


  1. "so..." seems to be the starting word on responses to  most questions on NPR interviews this century. {National Public Radio, folks.]
  2. "Power greens" are not well defined but contain spinach for sure (the cheap familiar one) and a few others that lend credence to the "power" name. We like the Costco product, which comes in the biggest bag, necessary since greens notoriously shink under heat. 1.5 lbs? Feeds two hungry people.
  3. "in padella" = "in the pan" which is Italian shorthand for sauteeing in a frying pan with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. See our own discussion.
  4. For decades bob has been correcting his Italian friends in English for using plural nouns as adjectives, like "black holes physics" which is wrong, we say "black hole physics", but "power greens risotto" is an exception to the rule, "power green" does not work in the singular and makes it sound like "power" is an adjective modifying "green risotto", so bob is right in spite of his rule that none of his friends ever pay attention to anyway. Did you buy that argument?
  5. Illustrations available.

2018 update.

Serendipity strikes when you least expect it. Ani calls from the road, asking bob to come up with a dinner idea. We happen to be in a low carb period as ms_ani tries to lower her summer Roman pound increase back down, down by any amount, but body dynamics is a tough nut to crack. It fights movement from its equilibrium. But low carb in a kitchen that relies on pasta, risotto and pizza as its main inspiration is a bit of a problem. bob thinks maybe escarole with white beans, then maybe a fish or something from a local supermarket. So he heads out as text messages arrive warning of possible flash floods, and the rain goes into overdrive. Arriving at the foot of our hill, thinking to head over to the local Whole Foods with a basement (covered!) garage, he meets a wall of rush hour rain challenged Main Line traffic in both directions. Deciding to abandon the plan, he pulls right and after some minutes gets to an escape route back up our townhome hill to safety. The plan changes to power greens and cannellini risotto, with some cubed Muenster cheese. Ani agrees. She suggests a zing factor of lemon zest to kick up the flavor. The power greens had already been cooked down a few nights earlier, so they would not go bad.

We did 1 cup arborio rice, the 1.5 lbs (4 cups uncooked?) cooked Costco power greens chopped finely, one 16oz can of cannellini beans, 1/2 cup or so of 1/4 inch Muenster cheese cubes, the usual hit of grated parmigiano, one chopped onion to start but no garlic or red pepper flakes, a white wine hit as usual, of course salt and pepper and a little butter at the end when the parmigiano is stirred in with the lemon zest (2/3 lemon) off heat, then the cheese cubes are folded in to let rest covered 5 minutes before serving. A very good result. Repeatable.

 powergreensrisotto.htm: 25-sep-2018 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]