Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Radish and Beet Greens Risotto

There are a few basic meals that make good vehicles for disposing of extra vegetables.  Risotto is one of them.  I love making risotto, despite the fact that you literally have to stand over a hot stove for about 30 minutes.... stirring....

Yes, I've always done it the "old-fashioned" way and probably always will.  I've read plenty of articles on "no-stir" methods of risotto, but to be honest, isn't that just making regular rice?  Its the stirring that breaks up the starches and give risotto that creamy texture, sans cream.

I'd been craving risotto for a while and figured now was as good a time as any.  I still had a plethora of radishes from my CSA box last week along with some beet greens that still needed to be used.  And I just picked up more this past Sunday.  Something needed to be done.

Unfortunately, risotto is one of those things that I've been making for so long now that I never measure anything.  I'll guess-timate, but honestly, you'd better rely on your own tastebuds to tell you appropriate quantities.

Ingredients: (for 3-4 servings)
1C Arborio rice
1 onion, diced
1/4 - 1/2 C dry white wine (I used Sauv. Blanc)
2-3 C chicken stock/broth
Radishes, sliced
Beet greens, washed, chopped, and cooked down
1/4 - 1/2 C Romano cheese, shredded (could probably use just about anything - Parm, Asiago, Chevre, etc)
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

First things first, prep the radishes and greens:

You'll need 2 saucepans to make risotto.  I usually start by heating one saucepan over medium heat and melting together 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.  In the other saucepan, I warm my chicken stock over med-low heat, you don't need it boiling, just warm.

I add my onion (to the first pan) and cook until soft, about 5min.  Add the rice to the pot and stir to coat all the rice kernels with the butter/oil mixture and slightly toast them, 2-3min or so.  Add the white wine and stir until the rice has absorbed it all and the bottom of the pan is dry, like so:

Now, you'll start adding the chicken broth.  I usually start with about 1cup, but for future additions use only 1/2 cup each time.  Add the broth and stir.  Keep stirring until the rice has absorbed all of the stock, then add more (1/2 C).  And stir.  Stir.  All absorbed?  Add more stock.  Stir.  Stir.  Add stock.  Stir.  Stir. Add.... you get the pattern :)
 * You can see my chicken stock in the back pot *

This will continue for about 20 minutes until your rice is almost cooked through and surrounded by creamy, starchy-ness.  At this stage, add the radishes, beet greens, and cheese.  The radishes give the risotto a slight pinkish hue... cute!

Let this cook for maybe another 2-5 minutes so that the flavors come together, then season with S&P as needed.  Ladle into serving bowls, top with a little extra cheese, and enjoy.

I served this with a salad (lettuce and cucumbers from the CSA box as well) and the remainder of my Sauvignon Blanc.  The crispness of the wine really balanced the creaminess of the risotto.  I really liked the combination of slight peppery bites of radish along with the earthy notes of the beet greens.  I'm thinking this easily could have stood up to a light pinot noir or petite syrah as well.

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