Friday, May 30, 2014

beetroot risotto + chunky kale pesto

Oh, how I love beets. And I love finding new ways to cook with them! This beetroot risotto recipe is adapted from A Beautiful Mess, and is a simple yet delicious way to incorporate (a lot) of beets into your meal!

I'll start with the chunky kale pesto, because if you are going to make it, you are going to want to make it first! Risotto isn't one of those meals you can put on the stove and then get other dishes going at the same time. Its pretty much a full time job of stirring and adding broth, maybe with a glass of wine in hand.

chunky kale pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh herbs (I just use whats in my garden; basil, parsley, and chives. But many others will work too, or just all basil would be good too!)
  • 2 large kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

I found this guy living in the kale, I hope he likes his new home in the compost!

Rinse and trim herbs. Rinse and de-stem kale leaves. Add everything to a food processor at the same time and process to desired consistency. Chunky is good with this dish because the risotto is so creamy!

Now for the risotto.

This recipe makes 4 generous portions, or 5 smaller portions. To make a half batch, just 1/2 all of the ingredients, but start with 2 Tbsp olive oil.

beetroot risotto

  • 2 medium beets
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups aborio rice
  • 1/2 cup red wine (you could use white but I was going with the red beet theme)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (yes, cheese! If you want a vegan version just leave the cheese out, and add a little salt, or 1/2 cup nutritional yeast.)

Start by thoroughly cleaning the beets. I like to leave the skins on, so I use a scrubby sponge to get all the dirt out. You are more than welcome to peel them if this bothers you. Chop beets into large chunks and then process in the food processor until teeny tiny.

Now, lets get started! Combine veggie broth and water in a small pot and start heating, you want this to be simmering the entire time you are adding it to the risotto. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan, add onions and cook until translucent. Add rice and stir to coat in the oil. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Make sure the heat is on low because you are about to add liquid and you don't want to steam your face off. Add the red wine and cook until completely reduced. Start adding the broth one 1/2 cup at a time, making sure each one reduces completely. After about 2 cups of broth have been added, add the beets. Continue adding the broth, stirring constantly the entire time. This is when you get very hot and when that cold glass of white wine comes in handy.

From the time I added the rice, to the time the rice was cooked was about 30 minutes. This time varies but it usually takes at least 30 minutes for the rice to cook completely. Add the last 1/2 cup of broth/water and the parmesan cheese (or substitutes), stir in completely and then cover for just a few minutes while you get your plates out and fill your wine glass. Risotto is best served immediately so top with kale pesto and enjoy it now! 

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