All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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This is as easy to make as any risotto. Risotto? Easy? Yes. It is. I don’t know why it has a reputation for being laborious. Kind of like root canals. People dread them like THEY cause the pain. I had a friend recently tell me that she had rented a bunch of movies to watch over the weekend as she recuperated from an upcoming root canal. You get a root canal BECAUSE you are in pain. Terrible, inescapable pain – or you would never agree to a procedure that terrifies you & is, quite frankly, very expensive. A root canal is a procedure that removes the nerve so that you will never again have pain in that tooth. In fact, they get at that thing pretty early in the procedure so within 5 minutes of them starting – it is impossible to feel pain there anymore. I told my friend this – to her great relief. And, she reported back, I had been right. I know – because botched dentistry in my past has led to my having had two of them.
Anyway, I digress. Risotto is not the arm-ache provoking process people always bemoan. It just takes about 30 minutes of care with some occasional stirring. Who can’t manage that? Especially if a creamy, delicious risotto is your reward. And, as far as I am concerned, you can’t really screw it up. Sure – some can be overcooked or clumpy or too wet but that is just a texture concern & I am not a texture freak. It all tastes the same. So give yourself a break & a treat & make some Goddamn risotto.
Oh – and at the risk of offering TMI – lots of roasted beets in your diet will turn your pee (etc) reddish – so – do not be alarmed & fear that you are hemorrhaging. You are not. 🙂
Also – if you have some extra beet around – or roast some extra – you can use a cookie cutter & create little decorative beet toppers to put atop the risotto & impress your neighbors. Or not. But I think it is a cute idea.
Roasted Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese and Pecorino
2 large (large!) beets or 5 or 6 smaller ones
10 cloves garlic
1 small onion – diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 bay leaf
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 cup Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry red wine plus 1/4 cup water
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
Goat cheese and/or Pecorino cheese as garnish
S&P to taste
Wash the beets & wrap them with 6 cloves of garlic in some foil & roast at 425 for between 30-45 minutes – depending on their size. A knife should cut through them easily when they are done. Let them cool & then peel them. The skins might just wipe off with a paper towel. If not – use a peeler. Put the beets, roasted garlic into a food processor with 1 TBS olive oil & about 1/4 cup water. Pulse until you have a rough puree.
Heat your stock & leave it simmering. Add the balsamic to this stock.
Mince the remaining raw garlic. In a stock pot, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat & add the diced onion & minced garlic. Saute until the onion is soft. Add more olive oil if the pan gets too dry.
Add the bay leaf & the rice & stir for about a minute or two. Get the rice coated in oil from the pan.
Add the red wine & water (One cup total. You can use white wine or just plain water here if you don’t want to waste good drinking wine – but the wine adds a nice flavor.) Simmer a few minutes. Reserving at least half a cup of hot stock – add the stock to the rice by about a cup at a time & stir it in & allow each cup to nearly cook off before adding the next. About 15 minutes into this process – add the beet puree. Stir to blend. Add the cheese and S&P to taste. Remove the bay leaf. The rice should be cooked before you get through all the stock but if you use all the stock & the risotto gets too thick – just add some water & heat it through to thin it.
Put some risotto on each plate & top with crumbled goat cheese and/or shaved Pecorino & a nice dose of freshly ground pepper.
Oh! And again, all my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option. Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out. It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing. The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.