Beet and Goat Cheese Risotto

from Chef Todd English

Yields 12 Servings

1 pound box risotto
1 large Spanish onion finely diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 quarts vegetable stock
5 pounds beets (beet juice)
1 pound roasted baby red beets, diced * see below
½ pound roasted baby yellow beets, diced* see below
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup crumbled humboldt fog goat cheese
To Taste pepper

1½ cups shelled and toasted walnuts
½ cup walnut oil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup spinach leaves
½ cup  Italian parsley leaves picked
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
To Taste salt
To Taste  pepper
4 cloves smashed garlic

Method- Roasted Baby Beets:
Wash beets well and cut off tops.  Place in a shallow roasting pan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and cover with tin foil.  Cook until tender (about 30 minutes) remove from heat and set aside. 

Method- Risotto:
Peel and dice 5 pounds of beets, and using a juicer, juice the beets.  Take beet juice and place in pot and simmer over low flame.  Melt in 1 tablespoon of butter and add diced white onion, slowly cook for 10 minutes, add salt and pepper.  Once onions are translucent, slowly add risotto and stir until mixed together -about 1 minute. 
Slowly add vegetable stock, one 4-ounce ladle at a time and continue stirring and adding risotto slowly so that the liquid gets absorbed before adding more.  Once risotto is ¾ cooked, start to add beet juice and continue to stir.  Add juice until risotto is bright red color and risotto is 95% cooked (about 20 minutes).
Fold in diced roasted red and yellow beets and remove from heat.  Fold in remaining butter and parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside for plating.  Note- risotto should be served promptly.

Method- Pesto:
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend and chop until it has a pesto consistency – a bit chunky.

Plate risotto and top with ½ tablespoon of pesto and top with crumbled humboldt fog goat cheese and drizzle with remaining reduced beet juice.

Drink Recipe: Todd's Thyme After Time Cachaca Cocktail

2 oz Cachaca (Brazilian sugarcane liquor)

2 oz Fresh Lime juice

2 oz Fresh Lemon juice

1.5 oz agave syrup

Splash of soda

Slice of ripe Clementine (or orange)

Sprig of fresh thyme

Ice cubes

Combine Cachaca, juices, and agave syrup into a shaker. Shake hard.  Place slice of Clementine in bottom of white wine glass and fill with ice cubes.  Clap fresh sprig of Thyme between hands (to release aromas) and place on top of ice cubes.  Strain ingredients of shaker over ice cubes and top with splash of soda, and serve.

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