Beet Risotto for Earth Day

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In honor of Earth Day I wanted to share a recipe for something “earthy”. This beet risotto immediately came to mind.

Beets have an earthiness about them, but prepared correctly they can be sweet and delicious. They also lend an incredibly gorgeous color to this risotto. While risotto is usually prepared with white wine, the version I made today was made with a smaller amount of balsamic vinegar as a replacement. Why, you ask? To be honest, I’m trying not to drink during the week and I didn’t want to temp myself with opening a bottle of wine. Sigh. Actually, I didn’t miss it in this dish because I think that little bit of balsamic adds another dimension of flavor that complements the beets. The classic way to make risotto is to add a little bit of hot broth at a time and stir away. I add about a third of the stock at a time, stir vigorously, cover and cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes, before stirring again and adding more broth, and so on. I find the finished product the same and I while I do stand nearby, I don’t have to be standing over it constantly. Beets and goat cheese are a marriage made in heaven, so I like to top this risotto with some crumbled goat cheese. Seriously people, this is crazy good, absolutely stunning, and beets are good for you!

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Beet Risotto
couple tablespoons of olive oil
1 chopped onion
a bunch of beets, peeled and diced (my bunch had 4 small ones)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
about 1/2 cup of dry white wine OR 1 T balsamic vinegar
1 quart chicken broth, warmed
2 T butter
a handful of grated parmesan
soft goat cheese

Cook the onion and beets in the olive oil for about 10 minutes or so, until tender but not brown. Stir in the rice and cook for a couple of minutes, until the edges start to get translucent. Stir in the wine or balsamic vinegar, give a good stir, and cook for a minute. Add a third of the broth (and some salt), stir, and cover and cook over medium-low for a few minutes. Stir, add another third of broth and repeat until broth is gone. Turn off heat and add cheese and butter and stir until melted. Check for salt (risotto needs salt!). Loosen with a bit of water if it needs it. Serve with some soft goat cheese crumbled on top.

Lettuce Turnip the Beet!

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Vialone Nano rice (similar to Arborio) from my local Italian market, Sorrentos, in Culver City.

Happy Earth Day, People!

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