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Beet Risotto

This is a pretty unconventional risotto.  There’s little to no stirring, no wine, no parmesan, it has balsamic vinegar in it.  But, somehow it’s really, really good.  I could not stop eating it from the pan when it was done.  Normally I would not even consider making risotto that doesn’t require constant stirring, but I figured since this is breaking most of what I thought were risotto “rules” I would go for it.  Goat cheese and beet are the perfect pairing, as we’ve found with this great salad.  But this winter with the awesome abundance of beets in the share boxes, I’ve been seeking out more homey preparations and I’ve never been disappointed.

Beet Risotto

I quickly peeled three beets and cut them in a small dice.  In my experience beets are very hard, so I’m always careful to allow enough time for them to cook completely.  I also think the beets would be nice shredded, which would give the dish a creamier consistency overall.  Dicing them results in a creamy rice flecked with firmer cubes of beet.  It’s a nice contrast if you love beets, but for those who don’t quite love them (we know you’re out there)  try shredding them instead.

Beet Risotto

While there is significantly less cheese than a more traditional risotto, there is plenty of butter!  This calls for 1/4 cup, but honestly depending on what kind of mood you’re in you could cut it back a little.  I used all of it!

Beet Risotto

Once the rice and beets and are in the pan, add the stock and balsamic vinegar, then let it simmer for about 15 minutes.  If you’ve made traditional risotto, you will be surprised (or shocked like me) at how nicely the rice puffs up and how quickly!  I mixed goat cheese in and also crumbled some on top.  I wouldn’t exactly call this light, but it’s lighter tasting and a great new addition to your recipe collection.  Also, week-night worthy!  You can have this ready in under an hour.

Beet Risotto

1 cup arborio rice
3-4 medium size beets peeled and cubed (or peeled and grated)
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1 small or 1/2 large onion
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (try our homemade recipe)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4-6 oz goat cheese
salt + pepper

Melt the butter. In a heavy pot with tall sides over medium low heat.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add beets and continue to cook over medium low heat ten minutes.

Add rice.  Toast for about 3 minutes letting the rice soak up some of the butter.  Add stock and vinegar.

Bring to a boil.  Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender stirring occasionally.  If your rice isn’t completely done after 15 minutes, don’t fret, just add a little more liquid and keep simmering until done.

Remove from heat.  Stir 2 tablespoons goat cheese into the rice.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve risotto with the remaining goat cheese crumbled on top.

Notes.  This will serve four nicely with a salad and protein to round out the meal.  It can easily be doubled to guarantee leftovers or for a larger group.

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