Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sensual & Earthy - Beetroot Risotto

For those of you who were not able to tune in to last night's episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, consider yourself fortunate. You saved yourself from a very restless night, of falling in and out of agonizing dreams about melting cheeses, dripping chocolate, tender meats, and pillowy soft bundles of uni. Oh gosh ... I was craving uni! How can I crave uni when I've never even tasted it?! All I know is, I must have it. Soon. Preferably with pasta and caviar, made by the expert hands of the divine Eric Ripert. That, my friends, is the power of great TV.

Unfortunately, the reality is that I'm not going to be having uni anytime soon (unless some generous reader can send some over?). Mainly because: a) Le Bernardin isn't exactly the kind of restaurant one can just walk into, desperately demanding uni, and b) uni is f-----g expensive! And we're in a recession, dammit!

Still, don't cry for me (Argentinaaaaaaaa!) ... yeah, I couldn't resist. I made this amazing Beet and Cheddar Risotto to console myself. In keeping with my Valentine's Week theme, this risotto fits right in. It starts off a glamorous shade of fuschia, then mellows out to a vibrant shade of red. The taste of the beets combined with the cheddar cheese is so deep and earthy and satisfying. And then there's the feel of the risotto in your mouth - oh lordie. Smooth. Sensuous. Sumptuous.
I've made this dish several times, and it works every time. The thing with risotto though, is that it's best when you eat it as soon as it's ready. And it's not something you can make for a crowd. This is for those special moments when it's just you, or you and your lovebug. DH enjoys it just as much as I do (I know! I was surprised too!). It's comfort food for me, and it's easy to whip up as long as you have the right ingredients on hand. I love eating it in a bowl, on our cozy couch, entwined with DH. So you see how perfect it is for Valentine's Week? Or any other romantic occasion for that matter. Just make it - your day will become more romantic!

Beet and Cheddar Risotto (adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)
Serves 2

1 medium beetroot, peeled and quartered
2 cups loosely packed beet greens, stems trimmed
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)
1. Place the beet in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the beet greens and pulse until finely chopped.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and vegetable broth to a simmer.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes.
4. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
5. Stir in the beets and beet greens and cook for 1 minute.
6. Add the broth to the large saucepan, 1 ladleful at a time, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the liquid is nearly absorbed between additions, 20 minutes.
7. Add the cheddar; season with salt and pepper.
8. Cook, stirring until the risotto is creamy and thick, 3 minutes longer. Serve in deep bowls, passing the Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side (or more cheddar, like I did).

Nutritional Info: The beetroots are high in folic acid (great for those of you who are preggers), potassium, calcium and antioxidants. Leafy beet greens are also very nutritious and can be used for juicing, or cooking as you would any other green. In fact the beet tops are more nutritious than the roots. The greens contain significantly more iron (even more than spinach), vitamin A, potassium and calcium than the roots. See, this risotto is carbolicious and nutritious! Perfection.


NKP said...

I love the photo of the beet greens - so pretty!
I have only made real risotto once, but I do love my beets - sounds like a winner, especially for Valentine's Day!

cindy* said...

i l-o-v-e beets. unfortunately no one in my house likes beets...oh, well, all for me then.

Doppelganger said...

woah! love this dish! And I love that you're using the beet greens too. I only like beets grated raw into a coleslaw (it turns the coleslaw pink! :) ) but this risotto looks yummy and luxurious. These are both new ingredients for me so I'm going to take this recipe and run with it. Oh, I've just had chuqandar gosht (beets with meat!) which I dislike...very, very much! Your pictures look way more appetizing!

Hayley said...

I've been wanting to try a beet risotto for some time, and you have convinced me to quit putting it off. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

That's a nice recipe Muneeba. I've never cooked risotto because all the recipes had wine and it's interesting to note that this recipe uses only vegetable broth. I should try this one. Recently I tried beets pasta and my son loved it.

Muneeba said...

Most risotto recipes do require white wine, but for those of you who don't want to use any, you can always substitute it with more broth (or even some apple juice or white cranberry juice). I really hope you guys give this recipe a shot .. I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Unknown said...

I just made risotto for the first time not to long ago..it was Wild Mushroom Risotto. Oh my gosh I loved it! One thing I want to say is that I love your colorful food. I have been on this beige kick lately! Except for the chili of course...but the last six entries..beige. I might have to plan my menus by color lol.

Rico said...

really wild coloured risotto loved it is amazing, and the flavours wow

jennyfulltummy said...

Oh wow I've just finished eating a bowl (and a half of this) yummo! Stirred in lots of freshly ground black pepper at the end and topped the ruby rissotto mountain with a snowy cap of good parmigano. Fantastic. My tummy says mmmmm. It was quick to make too. I used the bowl attachment to my stick blender and wizzed those beets up in a flash. A really satisfying meal. There's a lot of cheese in it, so I used a good lowish fat sharp cheddar. I'll just keep thinking about how those tops and the roots count for two serves of veggies.
Thanks so much for sharing. I'm looking forward to the leftovers. Hey everyone - try it - gives the tried & trusted mushroom risotto a run for its money.

Muneeba said...

Thks for the feedback Jenny! There IS a lot of cheese here .. I actually don't go for the full 2 cups - simply taste it as I go along, and use just enuf to give me that cheddar flavor without overpowering the beet taste. And YES, lots of freshly ground black pepper makes it SO much more yummy!