Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Red Beet Risotto with Collard Greens and Goat Cheese

Back when I was a vegetarian, I came to love risotto because it was a nice reprise from all the nasty canned roasted red pepper and feta cheese (which I no long despise) smothered Boca burgers or whatever else passed for vegetarian food on menus. It was also the first dish I was able to conquer to the point of experimentation, purely because of its simplicity as a base. Just throw whatever the hell veggies and seasonings taste good on something else in a risotto and you've got a dish that's at least 75% new! Of course, now that I'm an omnivore one of my favorite risottos is chorizo--both because I love chorizo and because it turns the whole dish orange! Fun! Well beets are another way to turn your risotto (and your hands and countertops) a new color. It's like dyeing Easter Eggs! Hooray!

I based this recipe off of this one from Epicurious. I couldn't find mustard greens at my local market (but they had turnip greens...which seems more random) so I used collard greens because they remind me of that Decemberists song about the mom prostituting herself to sailors--and now I have it in my head. Otherwise, the ingredients are pretty much the same, but my method is a little different, the main divergences being that I toasted the risotto in the butter and also cooked it for longer. I know that risotto is supposed to be al dente just like pasta....but I kind of like mine mushy. Feel free to cook it until you like it, baby. You can also add about 1/2 c. white wine right before you add the broth if you have some hanging out or want an excuse to drink.

Oh, and P.S. I apologize for the return crappy photo quality. Some #$*@ stole my camera AT MY BIRTHDAY PARTY.

Red Beet Risotto with Collard Greens and Goat Cheese

1/4 c. butter
2 ( 2.5-3 inch diameter--remember your geometry!) red beets
1.5 c. chopped white onion
1 c. arborio rice
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken)
1 1/2 c. chopped collard greens, stems removed and chopped separately
1 5oz package of goat cheese, crumbled

Melt butter in heavy saucepan over med heat. Add beets, onion and collard green stems. Cover and cook until the onion is just about to go soft, then add arborio rice and toast. Put the broth in a saucepan and keep on low (really low) heat. Stirring fairly often to make sure it doesn't burn. Add enough broth to cover the mixture, and throw the lid on and stir occasionally. Once that broth has been absorbed, add half of the remaining broth, repeating with the last bit once that is absorbed. When you add the last measure of broth also add the chopped collard greens. When the rice is to your desired tenderness, turn off the heat and add in the goat cheese and salt and pepper to taste.