Roasted Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese

I still remember the first time I had risotto.:  I was about 13 or 14,  my Mom had been out with some girlfriends for dinner, and they went to a local Italian restaurant.  She came home with leftover risotto, I hadn’t had dinner, so I swooped in immediately.  I was greeted by this creamy looking dish, that was filled with beautifully seasoned vegetables and a texture and taste that left me wishing there was more.  It was a far cry from this recipe, but nonetheless, it introduced me to a very delicious ingredient.

To this day, I enjoy risotto.  I have never ordered it when dining-out, which is odd, because it is a little labour intensive and would be a welcomed treat.  However, I think it’s because I really enjoy the process of making risotto, as there is something gratifying about slowly adding liquid to the dish, and watching it become more and more creamy.  We received a package of beautiful risotto rice in a gift basket recently, and this got my wheels turning to make this dish.

This recipe was meant to be CH and I’s Valentines dinner together.  We aren’t big Vday fans, but we welcome any excuse to spend the night together, eating a good meal and drinking a bottle of wine.  However, Vday came and went this year, and CH was stuck at the office, so this dish had to wait a few days to be made.  However, it was worth the wait, as CH and I had fun chatting away in the kitchen as he stirred and I added liquid, until we had the *almost* perfectly cooked risotto and one delicious dinner for two! (Ps – yes, I was a dork and planned a pink dish for Vday…).

As we were making it, the idea came to me to submit this recipe as my contribution to What’s Baking this month – the theme, chosen by She Cooks and Bakes, was “Bake with Valentines Colours”, and although this isn’t technically “baked”, it’s Valentines colored, therefore I think it applies.  Plus, how fun is it to have a savoury dish in the mix, and be a little different.  I also don’t bake a lot with food-dye, so this to me fit the bill ever so perfectly.

I haven’t even written about how good the beets make this dish, but just trust me, they take a normally delicious risotto and put it OVER the top good.  The earthy flavour of the beets blends perfectly with the rich-creamy flavour of the risotto, basically making a perfect match.

Enjoy!

Roasted Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese

Yield: About 6 servings
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 hours or so

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium beets (about 2 lbs with greens), trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth + 1 TBSP for roasting beets
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 TBSP for roasting beets
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (plus a little more for garnish if you want it to look fancy!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss the beets with 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP of chicken stock and a dash of S&P. Tightly wrap beets in a double layer of foil and roast on a baking sheet until very tender, about 1 hour or so (depends on size of you beets – could be as long as 1.5 hours if they are large beets). You will know they are ready when you can insert a knife through the middle without any resistance.

Place the cooked beets aside and cool to warm in foil package, about 20 minutes.

When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding stems and root ends, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.  *Be careful, beets stain EVERYTHING – so use caution!*

When you are ready to make the risotto, bring the broth and water to a rolling simmer in saucepan. Reduce heat and keep at a low simmer.

Preheat a wide (4- to 6-quart) pot over moderate heat.  Add in the olive oil and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add rice to the onions and oil and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.

Add the wine to the pan , simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add in 1/2 cup broth and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is just tender and creamy-looking, 18 to 22 minutes. (Reserve leftover broth.)

Stir in diced beets, salt, and pepper (mixture will turn bright pink) and cook, stirring, until heated through. Thin to your liking with some of leftover broth, then stir in cheese and remove from heat and serve!

Enjoy.

Recipe slightly adapted from Love and Olive Oil

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Italian, Mains, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

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