Thanks to Deborah Madison’s _Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone_, I was able to recreate a flavorful memory from my engagement dinner for our guests at the Scanditalian Christmas Eve Dinner. I prepared this with baby spinach to cut on prep time. It was perfect in flavor and the magenta and green colors were in the spirit of the season.
I used dry vermouth – it was perfect.
Beet Risotto with Greens
5 ½ to 6 ½ cups vegetable stock
3 T butter or olive oil, or a mixture of the two
½ cup finely diced onion
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine or Vermouth
2 T chopped parsley
2 T chopped basil
2 to 3 medium beets, peeled and grated, about two cups (a food processor makes quick work of the grating)
2 to 3 cups greens – beet, chard, kale, or spinach – stems removed, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
½ cup freshly grated parmesan, or more to taste, plus more for sprinkling on the finished dish
Heat the stock until simmering. Heat the butter/olive oil in a big, wide pot. Add the onion, and cook over medium heat for about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice, stir to coat it well, and cook it, stirring constantly, for one minute. You should see a white fleck in the middle of each grain of rice.
Add the wine and simmer until it’s absorbed, then stir in the basil, the beets, the chopped greens, and half of the parsley. Add two cups stock, cover, and cook at a rapid simmer until the stock is absorbed. Begin adding the remaining stock ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. When the risotto is nearly done, season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the lemon juice and zest. It may taste really lemony, but it will mellow after a few minutes. Remove form the heat and stir in parmesan cheese – feel free to add more than ½ cup grated parmesan. Serve dusted with the cheese and the remaining parsley.