I bought an entertaining second-hand book the other day. For a few pounds on abebooks.co.uk. It's called (hilariously) "Cooking for Madam". Marta Scubin was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's private cook, and her book tells the story of her career with Mrs Onassis, and shares the secrets of their Fifth Avenue kitchen.
Now I've currently got a thing about simplicity in food. Classic dishes cooked properly, with attention to detail and using the correct techniques. Arranged artistically on the plate. The right size of helping too; veering on the belt-tightening side of restraint, and avoiding the vulgarity of excess. Mrs Onassis appears to have been very keen on this sort of food. Simple dishes such as "Roast Lion of Veal with Morel Mousse", "Pear Sorbet", "Tarragon Chicken", "Mousseline Sauce" and "Mussel Salad". I like the sound of the last one. It's a plain green salad, with mussels removed from the shell, and served with a saffron flavoured creamy viniagrette and an empty mussel shell or two for decoration.
I'm also enjoying her "Green Risotto". It's a simple risotto flavoured with puréed spinach. The latter turns it a lovely, vivid green colour.
You heat some olive oil in heavy saucepan and sauté some chopped onions. Next, you add about 1½ cups of arborio rice and let the rice grains coat themselves in the hot oil. I'm sure you all know how to make proper risotto: add a splash of white wine to the rice and let it evaporate. Ladle in the steaming hot stock bit by bit, until the rice absorbs the liquid; stirring and beating away at it like mad, so that the starch is released from the rice. Carry on stirring until the rice is cooked.
The trick is to get the rice al dente (ie slightly firm) yet bound in a starchy, creamy sauce. It will take about twenty five minutes. Then it's time to add the spinach.
In her book, Marta puts ten fresh wet spinach leaves into a blender and whizzes them up into a paste. Having tried it myself, I'm not sure about this method. What you end up with is thousands of very tiny uncooked spinach particles suspended in water, and your risotto will end up flecked with green. Instead, try steaming your spinach leaves briefly before-hand, and then when you come to whizz them up, they should make a much smoother purée. If neccessary, add a bit of water to the mix.
Stir the green spinach purée into the risotto, and serve with shavings of parmesan cheese.