Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Roasted Golden Beetroot and Lobster Risotto

I like to roast beetroot bulbs. It brings out their natural sweetness, and deepens their flavor. It makes for instant flavor when you use them in a soup, or like here: in a risotto. Roasting also deepens the color, and the roasted golden beetroot gives the risotto a warm golden yellow. The eye does not go wanting with this risotto!

Ingredients (makes for a main course for 4)

2 cups Arborio rice (or other risotto rice)
100 gr butter
20 gr onions, finely chopped
1-2 liter good, flavorful stock (from scratch or organic cube, your choice vegetable or chicken)
40 gr parmesan cheese, grated
your flavor ingredient(s): in this case 1 cup finely diced roasted golden beetroot
2-3 medium cooked lobster tails, cut into chunks

It is important to have a good, flavorful stock: the grains will soak it up and make or break your risotto. If too bland, your risotto will be bland too. For the risotto you are making, add part of your flavor ingredients to the stock to simmer at least 30 minutes prior to using the stock. For instance, if you're making a mushroom risotto: add mushrooms to the stock. I added chopped beetroot to the stock prior to using it. Also, be playful with your stock: add aromatic herbs and scraps from vegetables to deepen the flavor.

Directions (to make a risotto this way will take about 20-25 minutes start to finish)
  • gently soften the onions in 1/3 of the butter
  • add the risotto grains to "roast" (but not brown): you will notice they get a little glossy
  • add a ladle of hot stock: the shock makes the grains absorb the liquid rapidly and soften the starch to be released. When the liquid is all soaked up, add another ladle. 
  • this is the process for the next 20 or so minutes: add a ladle of stock every time the liquid is incorporated. Stir to get all the grains off the sides of the pan and bottom, and simmer. I don't stir continuously, but am close to the pan at all times.
  • After about 10 minutes, add half of the diced beetroot with your next ladle of stock.
  • Continue to add stock and stir until the risotto starts to thicken (it will look creamier and grains have swollen in size). At this point, taste a grain and check for desired tenderness. You are looking for a little bite, but nothing "chalky". If still too firm, continue with stock and stirring. If soft enough to your liking, and not a hint of chalkiness: take off the heat, add the remaining beetroot, grated parmesan and butter. Stir well to incorporate.
  • Add another ladle of stock if you want your risotto a little "runny". Add the lobster chunks to warm through (or warm separately and serve on top of risotto).
Garnishing herbs that will go well with these sweet and seafood flavors are fresh chives, young parsley, or even fresh (wild) thyme. I also like to sprinkle a couple of rose peppercorns.

ps. you could use the lobster heads for the stock. I didn't, as I find it makes the risotto overly sweet, whereas a hearty, herb-rich stock adds more savory notes to the sweetness of the golden beetroot and lobster meat. I do, however, use the "coral" chopped up and added to the risotto.
the natural beauty of golden beetroot

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