Creamy beet risotto with spicy greens and goat cheese

Here, for your gustatory pleasure, is the recipe from this past Saturday’s market, featuring my favorite root vegetables: beets.

This twist on your usual risotto is a little more low maintenance and, in my humble opinion, a delightful mix of savory beets, creamy goat cheese, and spicy greens. The risotto, made entirely from ingredients from the market and the nearby Giant, was wildly popular during my second cooking demonstration of the season at CHCM….

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (from Giant)
  • 1 bunch fresh beets (from Pleitez Produce), peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 small turnips (from Dragonfly Farm), peeled and cubed — optional
  • 2 cups chopped onions or shallots (from Licking Creek Bend Farm)
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice (from Giant)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (from Chesley Farm), peeled and minced
  • 4 ½ cups vegetable stock (made it myself with veggie scraps)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar (from Giant)
  • 2 cups arugula (from Wisteria Gardens) or purple mustard greens (from Five Seeds Farm), washed, patted dry, and finely chopped
  • 6 oz. soft fresh goat cheese (like Spriggs Delight’s luscious chevre)

Directions

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add beets and onion (and turnips, if you’re using them), then cover and cook until onion is soft (about 5 minutes).

Stir in rice and garlic. Add broth and vinegar, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until rice and beets are just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes).

Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into shallow bowls atop a handful of greens and top with a spoonful of soft cheese. Devour.

In theory, it feeds 3-4 people as a main course, or 6-8 as a first course, so do try to share some, eh?

Notes:

Yes, you don’t even cook the greens! They wilt when you stir them in with the risotto. With the goat cheese getting all melty, the result is divine.

Don’t be afraid to modify this recipe based on what you have.  Feel free to substitute mustard or turnip greens, or anything else with a kick. I have found lettuce and spinach and beet greens to be too mild. I’ve also been known to also mix in radishes with the beets. (Once, I even included some Jerusalem artichokes!) The beets will turn everything magenta colored anyway, so I kind of like the surprise.