Warm Spinach Soup
1 packet (250gm) frozen chopped spinach (I love this stuff)
500ml chicken stock
1 tsp minced chilli (the jarred stuff is fine, though it pains my inner chilli-geek to say that)
a decent fistful, about qtr-half a cup, of arborio rice
about 3 cloves minced garlic
1 brown onion, chopped
olive oil (maybe a tbsp or a bit less)
Earlier in the day or the day before, take the spinach out of the freezer and put it in a bowl to thaw. It'll separate into a wad of squishy spinach in a pool of green water. Keep it all.
Over a medium flame, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Throw in the onions, garlic and chilli, stir it all around continually until there's no crunchy and opaque bits of onion left but before it starts to brown. Add the rice, keep stirring for a few minutes until the rice grains are all coated with the red-orange oil from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the stock, and the spinachy water, put a lid on the saucepan, turn the heat up to high until the mixture starts to bubble fast. Then turn it down low and leave it to simmer for about 10-15 mins or so, until the rice is tender. Throw in the spinach and stir until it mixes evenly through. Season with salt and pepper. Put the lid back on and leave to cook for another 5 mins or so. Pour into a bowl. Sprinkling the finished product with a bit of cheese isn't 100% necessary but adds a lot - use something sharpish and hard like pecorino or parmesan if you have it, otherwise mozarella (or even the cheap lo-fat pre-grated pizza cheese works pretty well)
Serves: 1 nice big bowl for in front of the TV. Multiplying up for additional diners is very easy though, no tricks needed.
Difficulty: Very very easy. The hardest thing about this recipe is remembering to take the spinach out to thaw beforehand. Seriously, you have to TRY to stuff this one up (though I did manage once, forgetting to put the stock powder in and making it with plain water!)
Kitchen mess factor: One pot, got to love that.
Date-impressing quotient: probably negligible, tell you the truth.
Cost: a packet of spinach plus an onion, call it $2.50 per serving? The rest of the ingredients are used in small amounts and you've probably got them sitting around anyway...