Saturday, June 18, 2011

Labbits Like: Beet Risotto

Clover was psyched to get the first beets and beet greens of the CSA season from Deep Meadow Farm. Beets are wonderfully sweet and have fantastic color, and the best part is you can eat the greens, which have a pretty purplish red veining. This beet risotto recipe, courtesy of Eating Well magazine, is a sweet and sour mix of beets and balsamic vinegar. Served up on a single leaf and sprinkled with some shredded cheese, it's also very elegant to look at.

Making risotto is a labor of love. You have to attend to it carefully, adding broth little by little and stirring constantly. When you bite into perfectly al dente but creamy risotto, you know it's worth the time you've spent hovering by the stovetop! Print out the recipe here.

Beet Risotto With Beet Greens
1 bunch of beets with greens
6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, coarsely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
grated cheese (Clover used Gruyere)

Remove the greens from the beets then cut off and discard the stems. Cut the greens into ½ inch strips crosswise and set aside. Scrub the beets and place in a saucepan with the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until beets are tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove beets from the broth and allow them to cool. Meanwhile, strain the cooking liquid by pouring the broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel into a bowl and set aside the broth. With the beets now cool, rub them to remove the skins. Finely dice the beets, place in a bowl with 2 Tbsp of the balsamic vinegar and set aside. With the beets, beet greens and broth ready and standing by, you can now begin to assemble the risotto.

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Next add the remaining 3 Tbsp of vinegar and 1 cup of the broth. Stir until nearly all the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the broth one cup at a time as the liquid is absorbed, adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer. Stir frequently throughout the process.

Add the beet greens along with the last cup of broth and stir until the greens are wilted.

Then stir in the reserved beets and vinegar.

Cook another 3 to 5 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. The risotto should be thick and creamy and the rice should be al dente. If after all the liquid is absorbed, the rice is still too firm on the inside, add about ¼ cup of water and continue to cook for a few additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with grated Gruyere cheese.

Serves: 6 labbits
Recipe: Adapted from Eating Well, March 2006

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