There is a restaurant nearby that serves Rice Florentine as a side. It seems to be not much more than rice with small bits of unidentifiable green vegetation tossed in. I wanted something with a bit more color, and flavor.
There is a fair amount of prep work on this dish, particularly with the baby spinach. I think the end result is worth the extra effort.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 5 cups water
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 2 1/2 cups long-grain rice
- 10 oz. fresh baby spinach, stemmed, cut into 1/4″ pieces, rinsed and spun dry
- 2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1/8″ pieces
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced 1/8″, with most of green
- 2 Tbsp.butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice blend (or see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered rosemary
- kosher salt
- Make the rice: – Bring water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to a boil in a large pot. Add rice, stirring briefly to distribute in the pot. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-17 minutes. Check rice; it should be cooked through and look dry. Cook an additional minute if there is noticeable moisture. When cooked – turn off heat and place a double layer of paper towels between the pot and the lid.
- Cook veggies: – Heat remaining tablespoon of oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until bubbling subsides. Add peppers and scallions with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat with oil and cook until peppers start to turn translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, stir and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Add spinach, cook for a minute so it starts to wilt then stir it into the pepper mixture. Cook until any water released by the spinach is evaporated, about 5 minutes total.
- Sprinkle spinach with spice blend and rosemary. Stir to combine, cook for a minute or so and taste. Add salt as needed.
- Fold spinach mixture into cooked rice. Transfer to a large serving bowl and enjoy.
To prep the spinach I removed the stems from about 20-25 spinach leaves at a time, stacking the leaves on top of each other. I then cut them into 1/4″ pieces, transfered the cut spinach to a salad spinner and repeated the process until all the spinach is cut up. Rinse with cold water, drain and then spin at least 3 times.
If you don’t have the Mural of Flavors spice blend you can mix together 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander and the zest from a lemon or orange. Use 1 teaspoon of that and save the rest.
I referenced a couple of recipes while putting this recipe together: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/florentine-rice and http://southernfood.about.com/od/ricesidedishcasseroles/r/bl90805e.htm