Bryan Calvert's Beet Risotto
Calvert, who says he "always thinks of risotto as something really homey and personal," has a Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese and Marjoram on the Valentine's menu at James (605 Carlton Avenue), and he was kind enough to share the recipe. It's a great dish for right now (Valentine's aside), with beets in season, and the purplish color is festive without being heart-shaped cheesy.
If risotto seems too challenging, and you still need something to cook for Saturday night, Calvert recommends something "very light and simple, like a beautiful piece of arctic char or wild striped bass, which is really good right now. You could just do a beautiful piece of fish on a little salad."
Whatever you end up serving, he cautions that "you want food that's nourishing but that's not too heavy. You don't want to overdo it and not have fun after you eat. You don't want to just eat and drink and then pass out." This is actually my signature move after a romantic dinner (and probably why I'm being taken to sushi on Saturday), though Calvert admits that "sometimes there's something fun in that."
The recipe for the his Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese and Marjoram is after the jump.
Robert Sietsema reviews James, one of his "critics' picks."
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
¼ cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup beet juice (made fresh using a juicer, or purchased from a health foods store)
½ stick butter (optional)
¼ cup chopped chervil
1 clove minced garlic
1 chopped shallot
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
1 sprig of marjoram
¼ cup crumbled fresh un-aged goat cheese like Chevre
fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Melt 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan over low heat.
Add the shallots and garlic and sweat until translucent. Do not brown.
Add rice and toast in oil until the rice becomes slightly browned.
Add sprig of marjoram and white wine.
Bring to a boil stirring gently.
Add chicken stock one cup at a time. Continue stirring and allow the rice to absorb the stock before adding more.
Add the beet juice and stir until the rice absorbs all the liquid.
Test the rice for doneness. The rice should be tender, but slightly al dente.
Stir in the cheese and the butter until incorporated.
Remove the marjoram sprig.
Sprinkle with chopped marjoram and Parmesan.