Roasted Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese Gouda and Arugula Pesto

Risotto is one of those entrees you wonder how you lived without for so long. It is not a minor meal, in that it takes both time and effort to make.

Today’s recipe has it made with vegetable stock; I prefer chicken on this occasion (left over whole chicken in the fridge). It takes more time, but the results are well worth the effort. If possible, make your stock a day ahead. If you don't, use your favorite stock.

So, this is how it takes shape: make your stock, adding celery, onions, carrots and garlic to the chicken carcass, a little salt & pepper, add enough water to your stock pot to cover it all. On the stove, get a boil on and simmer for the next couple of hours till the veggies turn to mush and the meat has fallen of the bones. If you put all the ingredients in a mash bag ahead of time, they are easily removed when you filter off the broth to another stock pot. Add ice cubes to chill and put the pot in the freezer. Fat will solidify on top and can be scooped off after overnight freezing. Nice! This makes a lot of stock; use it all or just a portion for today’s extravaganza:

Roasted Beet Risotto w/ Goat Cheese Gouda and Arugula Pesto.

Heat the stock slowly; add the fresh veggies, including the corn cob (never done that before). If you follow Piet’s directions, it is not difficult to make, apart from investing the time (a couple of hours). The beets take care of themselves; once they come out of the oven, peeled and diced, it is a simple task to make the pesto in between your other chores, the instructions are clear (you'll need that food processor).

Your risotto is made in a sauté pan, after the onions and garlic have done their job; it will thank you for adding the broth & white wine a couple of ladles at the time.

The smell alone will make you want to stay there and it gets better as the risotto absorbs the next scoops. Music, a glass of wine and especially, good companyto keep you focused and your spirits up – this is hard work (not!).

Make sure you add the corn, tomatoes and beets only towards the end – they get mushy otherwise. This is the final touch, and the flow of cooking points itself towards the dramatic ending: adding the pesto, goat cheese is like finishing a painting with your signature, or a concerto with the triumphant last crescendo!

It is time to take your bow and humbly accept the applause from a grateful audience,

Bon appétit,

Dr T


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