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When Eat to Beat Disease author Dr. William Li received Rach's new book, This Must Be the Place, he immediately went through it to find recipes that he wanted to cook during the holidays and that contained healthy ingredients. By the end, the book had lots of sticky notes poking out of it! One of his favorite recipes is this risotto, which he says is so easy and so good. "It's not only good for the body," he adds, "it's good for the brain as well." Porcini mushrooms, for instance, contain a soluble dietary fiber that's been proven to reduce anxiety. And spinach promotes better blood flow to the brain, which is really important for our cognition.
For two of Dr. Li's own healthy recipes, check out his Longevity Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Capers, Sardines + Lemon and Chicken Basil Stir-Fry.
In a saucepot, heat the stock and porcini over medium heat to reconstitute mushrooms, about 20 minutes. Remove the porcini and chop. Reserve stock.
Finely chop the stems and chop the leaves of the spinach or chard and keep them separate.
In a risotto pot (wide, round-bottomed pan) or deep skillet, heat the EVOO (three turns of the pan) over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, stems, rosemary, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Soften a couple of minutes, then add the rice and stir a minute more. Add the wine and let it absorb. Add a few ladles of reserved stock and stir vigorously. Continue to add stock every few minutes and continue to stir. (Do not use last few spoons of stock, as grit may collect at the bottom.)
Risotto will take about 18 minutes from first addition of wine and liquids.
Stir in the semi-dried tomatoes. During the last 5 minutes, add the chopped greens in bunches, letting each bunch wilt before adding the next. Add the nutmeg and porcini and melt in the butter and pecorino. Add the walnuts in the last minute.
Serve the risotto in shallow bowls and pass extra cheese.
For the vegetable stock, preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a pot, combine the garlic, carrots, celery, onion, fennel, leek, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, herb bundle, and lemon slices. Coat with oil, roast 12 to 15 minutes to soften. Add about 3 quarts water, move pot to stovetop over medium heat, and simmer 60 minutes. Let cool, then strain.
Excerpted from This Must Be the Place by Rachael Ray. Copyright © 2021 by Rachael Ray. Used with permission by Ballantine Books. All rights reserved.