Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pretty in Pink: Beet Risotto

We've been battling the beet for some time around our house. What was once a reviled vegetable by my spouse is now beloved and, yes, requested even. In fact, requested often enough (and in season twice a year here) that I'm starting to dig a bit deeper to create new recipes for this root.

The Roasted Beet salad dressing and the Blueberry-Beet Smoothie from our book are still my favorites, but this shocking pink risotto is right up there. It looks stunning on a plate, too, once you get past the notion that this would be something my kiddo's "Barbie Celebrity Chef" (courtesy of her aunt) would whip up if it were just sparkly as well as pink — and if I had not already vacuumed up most of her tiny cooking utensils.

Beet and Goat Cheese Risotto
3 beets, stemmed and washed
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 tbs. olive oil
3 to 3-1/4 cups hot chicken stock
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
2 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the washed beets in foil and wrap well. Roast for about 60 minutes, until fork tender. When cool, rub beets with paper towel and skins slip off easily. You can do this step the day before and refrigerate the beets. Dice them to 1/4-inch dice.

In a small pan, heat the chicken stock over medium heat and keep hot to add to the rice. Heat a larger saucepan, add the olive oil. Saute the arborio rice for about three minutes until translucent and just slightly golden. Add a cup of hot stock to the rice, stirring occasionally until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock by the half cup, then stirring to prevent sticking. The rice releases a lot of its starch with this method, giving risotto its creamy texture. Aim for an al dente texture to the rice grains and a creamy consistency overall.

Note: you can use this basic risotto recipe to create other recipes, too. It makes about 3 cups of risotto.

Gently fold in the goat cheese and rosemary. Add the beets, gently folding, again, until the risotto takes on a bright pink hue, but the beets are not mashed. Salt and pepper to taste. You'll need less salt if you used commercial stock that is not low sodium, so add carefully, tasting first.

No comments: