This risotto came about from a ‘clean up the fridge’ and a ‘let me not waste this beet from the farmer’s market’ and a ‘what’s for dinner?’ I did put a little thought into it and was very happy with how it came out.
- 1 large beet
- 1 lb chopped (bite sized) carrots
- 1/2 lb peas
- 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 1 1/2 cup white wine (Dry pinot grigio?)
- 1 1/2 cup water
- A little sherry
- Salt to taste
- Fresh basil leaves (About 20 or so)
- Black pepper
- Freshly grated parmesan
- 2 tablespoon butter
1. Cook the beet: gently snip off the tail/ greens off the beet. Make sure it’s a clean cut and you don’t cut off the skin from the beet. (It’s not a disaster if you do, but it’ll bleed red color for the time you boil it!) Boil the beet for half hour or till it softens up in a pot after fully covering it with water. After it’s cooked, place it under cold water and peel the skin carefully (The beet itself may still be warm).
2. Chop the beet (keep away from your clothes!), carrots and saute them in 1 tablespoon butter. Keep the heat on high for a couple of minutes and then lower the heat and cook in lower heat, stirring occasionally.
3. As they get soft, add the peas in as well and saute them in. When you add the peas, get heat back up high for a few minutes and then lower it again and cook all three vegetables in. Stir occasionally so nothing burns but take off the heat once everything is softened up. On this occasion, I even added a bit of sherry. What this does is the liquid helps cook the vegetables quicker. I chose sherry because carrots, beets and peas are naturally sweet, and adding the sherry would enhance the sweetness as well, as sherry would get infused with the softened, cooked vegetables.
4. Remove the vegetables from the pot, add the second tablespoon of butter and raise the heat to high. Add and coat in butter the arborio rice. Keep stirring so it does not burn. After the rice is fully coated and has been on heat for say, a minute or two, add in 3/4 cup of wine and 3/4 cup of water. Continue to cook on high for about 3 minutes, till the liquid has been bubbling for about a minute and then lower the heat.
5. Add the vegetables back in, mix them in. Slowly add the rest of the water and the wine an occasionally stir gently as the rice cooks to that lovely al dente texture. Once in a while stir up from the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing burns.
6. Add in the herbs and spices as it cooks, reserve the basil leaves and parmesan for last. Keep stirring gently.