Friday, April 23, 2010

red wine red beet barley risotto

i have a bit of a fixation on beets. nothing dangerous, if you ask me, but if you met my husband, he'd tell you to run for your life. i do this thing, every now and then, where i get completely obsessed with an ingredient and then it'll show up in everything for the next two weeks. the polenta episode was most unfortunate for my husband, as he's not a fan. the goat cheese phase meant dozens of tartlets, mousses and salads. the caramel thing is ongoing, i never seem to forget about caramel. the beets, my husband doesn't dislike. he put up with it, until this dish, the last of the series. i thought it was the culmination, the crown jewel of the beet week. he said it was rubbish and refused to eat it. i ate it for three meals in a row. i loved it, but god! i'm done with beets for a while.

1 cup pearl barley
2 tb olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups grated beets, 4 to 5 baby beets
1/4 cup red wine (or pomegranate juice)
5 cups stock
1/2 cup parmesan
6 oz baby spinach
salt, pepper
goat cheese or feta cheese, optional

heat the stock and keep it hot on low heat. in a saucepan, heat up 2 tb olive oil and saute the onion. when it's translucent, add the barley and toss to coat. cook for about 5 minutes to toast, then deglaze with the wine or juice. then ladle in about a cup of stock and stir. when it's absorbed, add another. when the second cup is absorbed, add the grated beets and cook a couple minutes. add all the remaining stock and simmer over low heat, covered, for about 40 minutes, until the barley is soft but still has a bit of bite. add the spinach and the parmesan and mix well. season to taste. remove from heat and serve immediately. top each serving with a few crumbles of goat cheese or feta, and a few chopped chives.

i had it both with goat cheese and feta, and i couldn't say which i liked best. the goat cheese melts on contact and when you stir it in it makes it impossibly creamy, like no other risotto i ever had. the feta melts well, too and provides an extra salty delicious undertone. try it both ways or without any cheese at all, it will still be creamy. as a bonus, it's quite decent reheated. most risottos don't fare well if not served immediately, but as i was the only taker i had to refrigerate it. on my next beet binge i'll try it cold, or room temp, with a handful of pomegranate seeds mixed in. just a hunch i'm having. 


  1. un risotto coloré et parfumé qui doit être vraiment excellent, j'aime beaucoup
    bonne journée

  2. ff frumos si mi place ff mult cum ai editat :) ai niste premiila mine pe blog :)

  3. ma bucur ca te-am descoperit!un risotto foarte frumos colorat,de gust nu ma indoiesc!

  4. anca, multumesc mult!

    alison, esti foarte amabila, multumesc mult!

  5. This looks great. I've been wanting to try a risotto with something besides arborio. I know what you mean about obsessions. For me lately, it has been rhubarb.

  6. thanks a lot denise! i appreciate the visit and the comment, and i completely understand anyone on a rhubarb bender :)


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