True, risotto takes 25 minutes to come together stovetop, but I find it to be just the right amount of time and pace to get the rest of dinner prep done: have the kids set the table, make a salad, open the wine (test it out!), and yes, give the risotto pot a stir and add some new stock every few minutes…not a big deal; actually kind of relaxing if you let it be. So, add risotto to your meal roster. It really is easy, and it’s a great basic for using seasonal veggies from farmers in your area: add them with the wine (if they need some cooking time, like beets and their greens), or stir them in at the end with the parmesan cheese, if you don’t need them to cook much (lemon zest, parsley, fava beans).
Last Thursday, I approached Matt, sitting on the open tailgate of his truck in the dusty back lot of Planet Natural, opened the lid to his cooler, and saw beets like I had never seen before: clean bunches of plump, fushia colored orbs the size of golf balls, with greens that were bright and turgid, obviously not out of the ground long. I wanted to make something worthy and wonderful with them, and since it was hot-hot-hot, something that didn’t involve roasting in a 400 degree oven. Thanks to Deborah Madison for the original recipe, and for giving me the confidence to use the whole beet, greens and all: Beet Risotto with Greens from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (a book you need in your kitchen, if you don’t have it already!)
- 5 ½ - 6 ½ cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, ghee or olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- For Beet Risotto: 3 - 4 small beets, grated + beet greens, stems removed and finely chopped
- For finishing Beet Risotto: zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Optional finishing: additional butter or olive oil, a tablespoon or two of chopped parsley
- Pour stock in a saucepan, heat and keep at a slow simmer.
- Heat butter (ghee or olive oil) in a wide pot, add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent.
- Add rice and cook for a minute.
- Add wine and simmer until it's absorbed. (For Beet: Add grated beets and chopped greens)
- Add 2 cups warm stock from the saucepan, cover and cook at a simmer until stock is absorbed. Begin adding remaining stock in ½ cup ladles, stirring frequently until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. You're done when the rice is creamy with a pleasant bite.
- To finish: add parmesan cheese and any additional finishing ingredients you desire (like a couple tablespoons butter or olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or a sprinkling of fresh, chopped parsley) (For Beet: zest and juice of 1 lemon)