I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Beet and goat's cheese risotto

Part deux of my quest to use up my beets:

Election day 2008 was one of the great days in recent memory. I am a big fan of our new president for many reason, including but not limited to the fact that on the following day no fewer than 15 people of varying British and European origins in my office came by to congratulate me, as though I personally had something to do with it (in a larger-than-my-absentee-ballot way). I could go on about his attributes, but instead I will turn to something I consider to be a major drawback in him: Barack Obama does not like beets.

I can sort of understand people who don't like beets. Many of them are victims of canned or pickled beet induced childhood trauma. Those would certainly be enough to spoil my beet appetite for life. I personally think they should be banished to fall-out shelters and labelled "Eat last". But beets in general -- fresh, newly picked, boiled or roasted or shredded raw, these garnet gems of the vegetable crown -- clearly they make me wax poetic, but they also make me want to eat them. And with the new White House garden which could supply fresh beets, I think there is really no excuse. For shame, Mr. President

So my point, and I do have one, is that despite my taste for the roots, I have more beets than I know what to do with. Last recipe was a fresh and flavorful salad. This week, something a bit heartier. One of the pleasures (and dangers) of beets is that they turn everything bright pink. Well, who doesn't like bright pink food? Risotto is a great vehicle for beets because not only does it blush beautifully in their juices, but it also complements their inherent creaminess. I like some sharp counterpoints, so goat's cheese and arugula (which, I have on good authority, the Prez does like) are the ways forward there. A good grinding of black pepper finishes the dish. Hail to the beets.

Beet and goat's cheese risotto

1 small onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup arborio rice
2+ C. vegetable stock
2 medium or 1 large cooked beet, peeled and chopped
2 T. soft goat's cheese
handful of arugula

Saute onion until soft. Add garlic and cook gently for a few minutes, then add rice and cook, stirring, for another few minutes. Start to add warm stock, 1/2 C. at a time, waiting between each addition for the rice to absorb the liquid as it cooks. Stir frequently (or just enough).

When rice is nearly cooked, stir through the beets so they warm through. Then mix in the arugula so that it just wilts. Dot the cheese over the top.

Serves 2


Astra Libris said...

I love this post - so wittily written! I giggled constantly while reading! :-) I couldn't agree with you more about beets - they are truly a transcendental vegetable! Your beet risotto is incredible - just look at the gorgeous color!! Beautiful! Mmmmm, and beets + goat cheese = heaven... :-)

The Duo Dishes said...

Fresh beets...one of our more recent discoveries in the last year. They're really delicious. Love the beet/goat cheese combo in a salad, so why not risotto?

Jester6578 said...

Despite having consumed beets the same day (and location) they were pulled from the ground I reserve my sibling's right to disagree. And no, you can't disown me.

Goat cheese and risotto however... That gives me ideas.

Reeni♥ said...

I am a beet lover! Even of the canned variety. This sounds wonderful paired with goat cheese! Thanks for your sweet comments on my blogiversary. I don't always leave you comments but I'm a lurker!

Sarah, The New Girl said...

what a great post :) Unfortunately, I have to sign with Prez Obama on this one. I have just never been a fan of beets... but maybe I should try one of your dishes during your earnest attempt to use them!! Maybe I'll like them!!

the ungourmet said...

Fresh beets are so delicious! Your risotto is a great way to use them!

teresa said...

this is such a cool dish! i've never seen beets in a risotto dish, how pretty!

Cucinista said...

Astra Libris -- you always leave the nicest comments! *blushing*

Duo -- you've read my mind about my next post...

Jester -- Lil' bro, disappointed you're not on the beet wagon, but I'm there with you on the risotto front. Together we will make the ultimate risotto.

Reeni -- back atcha :)

Sarah -- thanks! I do recommend them. And will warn you more beet posts are coming. Too. Many. Beets.

Ungourmet -- agreed!

Teresa -- thanks! I like it just as much for the looks as for the taste.

Velva said...

Love beets-Never thought of making a risotto with out very purple friend. I think I should reconsider. Thanks for sharing.


EMC said...

I love the vibrant color of this dish! I bet Obama would change his mind if he tried this...just guessing.

Thanks for bringing me back to election day, it was absolutely incredible!

Palidor said...

This looks really tasty. I love beets too, but I don't like getting my hands stained.

bramey25 said...

Cucinista, you have impugned the taste buds of my friends. I have taken a poll(and polls are important in the U.S.) of eight octogenarians and all of us agree that pickled beets are best probably because our mothers had a simple recipe - beets, vinegar and sugar. Do we have a generational gap? Your Grandma

Anonymous said...

I am not a great fan of beets but it sounds great in this recipe. I can really see it with goat cheese.

Cucinista said...

Velva and EMC -- never miss an opportunity!

Palidor -- after I roast or boil my beets, I just gently rub off the skins under cool running water. No stains.

Chaya -- try it: you'll like it, promise!

And finally:
Grandma! If the poll says pickled beets are good, I believe it. I won't go up against 8 octogenarians. Maybe I just haven't had good homemade ones. I bet Granny Loper's recipe was good.

By the way, how great is it that my grandmother reads and comments on my blog?

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