Risotto is my husband’s favourite meal. It’s so creamy and comforting and you can stuff it full of vegetables and have a one pot meal. There’s always this idea that risotto is too fancy to make at home, but it’s really something you can generally finish in less than an hour – and still impress everyone around you. This one takes a bit more planning, as the beets need roasting time, but you can do that ahead of time, if you like. I love the colour of this particular risotto; it’s so romantic! Perhaps I should save it as a Valentine’s post, but when I save recipes I just tend to forget about them and the pictures pile up so that my Google storage is now entirely full. I don’t use the stems in this recipe, as it throws off the texture of the dish, but they are delicious and you can eat them. Save them to put in soup, or sautee them as a side.
As an aside, we’re currently starting our first garden! We have a large deck as a part of our second floor apartment above a commercial space and we’re so excited to have the chance to try to grow some of our own food! We have four types of heirloom tomatoes: Pink Brandywine, Roman Speckled, Tiny Tim and Chadwick Cherries, as well as Jamaican hot peppers, Chinese Five Colour hot peppers, mini bell peppers, sage and basil. There’s some cilantro started for an indoor herb garden, as it doesn’t like to be transplanted. We have plans for lots more, but we won’t start those from seed. Hopefully we’ll have something more to show you in a month or two!
3 red beets, with greens
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, green and white parts
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
Pinch of dried thyme
1 1/2 cups arborio rice, or other short grain rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
~1 1/2 litres warm vegetarian chicken stock
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon non-dairy margarine
Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove the greens and stalks from the beets and quarter them. Make a foil packet for the beets, drizzling with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the beets have started to soften. Allow to cool enough to handle, peel and dice. Finely chop the beet greens; discard the stems. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and sautee until they are soft. Add the garlic, thyme and rice and stir so all the rice is coated in oil. Sautee for an additional minute, but make sure no browning happens. Add the wine and stir until it has all been absorbed by the rice. Add the diced beets and a ladle full of warm stock and stir until it has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, by the ladle full, until the rice has expanded and is soft but still toothsome. You may not need all the stock. Add the beets greens, a final ladle of stock and stir until absorbed. Remove from the heat, add the nutritional yeast, lemon zest and juice and the non-dairy margarine, stir and let sit to settle for ten minutes. Serve immediately after. Save any leftovers to make arancini, as it’s the only way to eat leftover risotto.