Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beet Risotto: Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Purple

Beet risotto is a cultural incongruity, the equivalent of taking an old Russian baba to dinner at Olive Garden. They don’t grow a lot of arborio rice in the borschtophagous regions of Eastern Europe, and if you look up “beets” in the encyclopedia of Italian cuisine, the first thing it will tell you is that they are used “in dishes like insalata russa.” East is east and west is west, and the twain shall meet only occasionally when circumstances call for it.

Such circumstances include poverty: A third of a bag of arborio rice will make enough risotto to last a week, if you flavor the risotto with something you can stand to eat day after day, and it’s not like there are a ton of ingredients in the dish pictured above: rice, stock, wine, garlic, onions, more garlic, garlic powder, and three beets. The only extravagance involved is goat cheese (which suits the dish much better than the parmigiano-reggiano recommended in this recipe, which was otherwise the basis for my culture-clashing food adventure). Next time: beet tacos?

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