by Tarla Dalal
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In Italy, the term "alla fiorentina" is used for dishes that are typically connected to the city of Florence. Florentine is a style of cooking pasta, rice and vegetables in which spinach is essentially used. Risotto fiorentina is a classic preparation of cheesy creamy Italian rice cooked in stock and topped with cooked spinach, tomato purée and fresh Italian herbs - basil and parsley. Italian rice used for risotto is a round, short grained variety with a nutty flavour. Arborio rice is the very best kind to use. Risotto is best when freshly prepared and quickly eaten!
- Clean, wash and soak the rice for about 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the carrots, green peas and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Pour 3 1/2 cups of hot water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer till the rice is almost cooked, adding a little water if required.
- When the rice is cooked, add the spinach, basil, celery, parsley, cheese tomato pureé and cream and red wine and mix well.
- Serve immediately.
- Toss in the greens (i.e. spinach, basil and parsley) just before you are ready to serve the risotto or they will discolour.
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