What’s for Dinner?
Lidia Bastianich’s Beet Risotto
-Courtesy of Lidia Bastianich
At Felidia, Lidia Bastianich‘s NYC restaurant, one of the most popular dishes on the menu is Beet Risotto – basic risotto which is then dressed up with shredded beet for texture and color. Besides being delicious, it is also a striking presentation.
5 to 7 cups chicken broth, hot
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (about 10 ounces) chopped onion, medium-fine- or additional leeks, shallots or scallions
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups short-grained Italian rice, either Arborio or Carnaroli
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil – or 2 tablespoons butter
1 beet, finely grated
1/2 to 1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Humboldt Fog cheese
1. Put the oil, onions and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in the big pan and set over medium heat. Cook the onions slowly, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, as they sweat, soften and gradually take on a golden color, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat if the onions are about to get brown.
2. Ladle 1/2 cup of broth into the onions, stir well, and continue to cook the onions without letting them brown, still over low to medium heat, for another 5 to 10 minutes. The onions should be golden and glistening with oil, but all the water must be cooked away.
3. When the onions are completely devoid of water, add the rice all at once, raise the heat to medium and stir constantly with the oily onions. Cook for about 3 minutes until the rice grains have been toasted but do not allow them to scorch or color. Have the wine ready to add.
4. Pour in the wine all at once and cook with the rice for 2 to 3 minutes, over medium heat. Stir constantly all around the pan, until the moisture has evaporated. Have the hot broth close by and be ready to add it with a ladle or measuring cup.
5. For the first addition, ladle in 11/2 -2 cups of the very hot broth and the beets. Stir well. Lower the heat, if necessary, to maintain a very gentle perking.
6. Stir frequently at first and then constantly as the risotto thickens. Make sure the spoon is reaching in all the corners of the pan, on the pan bottom and around the sides. When all the broth has been absorbed, the risotto is harder to stir – the bubbling sounds thicker too – and the pan bottom is visible in the track of the spoon ladle in another cup of broth.
7. Cook, stirring always, and add more broth when the risotto is ready for it, as just described – anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes between additions.
8. After the addition of at least 5 cups of broth, you can taste and gauge the degree of doneness of the rice kernels and the fluidity of the creamy suspension. At any time that you find the rice grains pleasantly al dente and the risotto creamy you can choose to stop cooking. Or you may incorporate more broth, up to about 7 cups total, if you want a softer, looser risotto.
9. When you are satisfied, turn off the heat and stir in the olive oil or butter. Stir in grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top with a sprinkle of Humboldt Fog cheese.
10. Serve the risotto immediately on plates, with more cheese and pepper at the table.