I’ve been really into beets lately. And by lately, I mean my entire adulthood… as a child, not so much… (for unknown reasons my mom tried to feed me canned beets as a kid… definitely not the first exposure any child should have of this amazing root nugget. Thankfully that is one of the picky eating things that I did outgrow…anyway.. ) Wednesday evening I was killing some time before heading off to yoga, and stumbled across this absolutely gorgeous cake from Local Milk. Um, beets? Red Velvet? Chevre thyme frosting. SIGN ME UP! Even though I still had to teach a yoga class, and even though I was looking at a trip to the grocery, an hour to roast the beets, and then making a cake from scratch, I could not be deterred. (I should probably note that I accidentally took a nap in the afternoon… so I was feeling a little extra motivated.)
The cake was just as amazing as I expected, and you should all go out of your way to make it, or find someone who likes making cake and have them make it for you! Overall it wasn’t complicated, though a few aspects of the recipe didn’t work entirely the way I thought it would, mostly the part about reducing the beet puree,. Somehow I ended up with about 3 cups of beet puree rather than ¼ of a cup… I could have just put more in the cake batter, but was un-sure…. I mean I can improvise on most any recipe, but baking is one of those tricky ratio things, and I wasn’t going through all the trouble of making a late night cake from scratch just to screw it up! So this left me with about 2 cups of roasted pureed beets… what’s a girl to do?
Also, before I go on about what I did with the beets, can I just say that chevre thyme frosting is a game changer. For reals. Move over cream cheese frosting, there is a new star in town. When I followed the recipe it was a little too thick to drizzle, so I did add a little bit of Meyer lemon juice. Perfection.
Tonight after I got home from work, I was hanging with the dog and trying to come up with some inspiration for dinner, and then I remembered the container of beet puree in my fridge. It was just begging to be a risotto, and after a few moments of flopping around and motivating myself to head out to the store for Arborio rice, I decided on a game plan. (note to self. If you mis-spell Arborio spellcheck will ask if you meant to spell abortion. It’s probably best not to mix these two words up when you are talking about trying to get motivated to head out and get some of said word. Especially when you are blogging about it. And since I’m not always awesome at proofreading, if I accidentally talk about abortions later, you should just assume that I’m actually talking about rice )
I will fully admit, this was one of those thrown together dinners that wasn’t exactly measured, and almost no photos were taken, but once I sat down and took a bite I sort of sighed and said “well I have to blog about this…” But let’s face it. Some of the best dinners are the ones that aren’t well photographed and well planned out…. And as I sit here and try to backtrack and write a recipe, I will just say this… go with your gut. It’s risotto… if it needs more broth, add more broth. If you want more beets, add more beets. Trust your culinary instincts… but I’m rather confident that this recipe will at least be an appropriate guideline to get you to a magically delicious dinner. I would apologize for the lack of amazing photos, but lets be real, it was too good to stop eating and stylize things… at least I got this shot with minimal spillage and some garnish (#sorrynotsorry)
Beet Risotto with Chèvre and Mascarpone (could easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese.)
- 1 cipolin onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- olive oil
- ½ cup of white wine
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth
- 1 cup beet puree* (can be made in advance)
- 2 oz chevre
- 2 large spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese.
- parsley for garnish
- salt to taste.
* Beet puree:
- 2-3 medium beets.
- ¼ cup of water.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash the beets, and pierce a few times with a fork. Line a pan with foil, add the beets and about ¼ cup of water. Seal the beets with additional foil and roast in the oven for about an hour. Use a paper towel to peel the skin off the beets (be careful not to burn yourself) and chop into large pieces. Place beet chunks in food processor and add the liquid from the roasting foil, and perhaps another ¼ cup of water. Process until smooth. Set aside. (or use some for the Red Velvet cake.)
Drizzle olive oil in medium pan, and begin to heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery and begin to sauté ( about 3-5 minutes)
Add the Arborio rice to the pan and cover with the olive oil. Sauté rice a few minutes until it starts to toast. It will smell a little nutty.
Add the wine, and stir… it will be absorbed by the rice fairly quickly. Add the remaining liquid ½ cup at a time, allowing the rice to almost fully absorb the broth each time. (stir stir stir… even if you don’t know anything about risotto you probably know that it required a lot of stirring) After the final liquid has been absorbed taste a grain of rice. If it is still pretty crunchy you might need a few more rounds of liquid.
Once the rice has gotten to the desired texture and consistency, add in the beet puree. Stir, and continue to cook for 5 minutes (continuing to stir frequently).
Add the chevre and the mascarpone cheese and a splash more of vegetable broth. Stir until the cheese is incorporated into the entire dish.
Voila, Dinner. If your friends are a punny as mine you too will be getting text messages that read “risotto? I’ll “beet” right over” (no joke… this is a real like story).