Happy Valentines

I hope everyone had a nice Valentines day. Some people make a huge fuss over the thing, much like New Years Eve, and it can end in disappointment. We’re not too big on the whole production, but it is always nice to share a meal with someone you care about, regardless of the date. I’m grateful for any chance to celebrate, and eat well, so last night I made K dinner (again from Good Things To Eat – that book is quickly becoming a favourite) with a little nod to Vday. He almost didn’t notice that it was heart-shaped though – too excited by the smell of hot cheese! A quick salad, a bottle of wine, a lemon tart K brought home just for me, and Poltergeist on tv… another vday for the books.

Aaaanyway, it’s not a hard one to make, very few ingredients and steps, but with all the grating and constant stirring, it can be labour-intensive. But the vibrant-coloured ultra creamy reward is certainly worth the fuss.

Beetroot Risotto with Goat Cheese For 2
taken from ‘Good Things To Eat’ by Lucas Holleweg

1 liter vegetable stock
250g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
2 tbsp olive oil
Half a stick of celery finely chopped
Half of a medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 garlic glove, finely chopped
1 cup risotto rice
100ml dry white wine
salt and pepper
125g mild soft rindless goat cheese
25g butter
a few chopped chives

Put the stock in a saucepan and throw in the beetroot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and keep it warm – it should be just below the simmering point. Meanwhile, in a heavy pan, sweat the onion, garlic and celery over a gentle heat until soft, but not coloured. Add the rice, turn up the heat a little, and stir well until the rice is coated in oil. Throw in the wine and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Now add two ladlefulls of the hot stock, scooping up some of the beetroot bits at the same time, and continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed. Then add another ladle of stock and beetroot, and again stir until absorbed. Season well with salt and pepper, then add a third quantity of stock and stir in. Keep adding stock this way until the rice grains are just al dente. Use a splash of boiling water if the stock runs out.

Once the rice is cooked, season well, stir in the butter and half the goat cheese, the cover the pan and leave off the heat for 3 minutes. Taste and season again if you think it needs it.

To serve, spoon the risotto into wide bowls, adding a blob more goat’s cheese, and scatter the top with a decorative sprinkle of chopped chives.

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