Beetroot Risotto: A humble attempt at my Restaurant Favourite

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My nephew celebrated his 21st Birthday at Cafe Zoe,in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago.The entire family was invited to a sit down lunch.Cafe Zoe is a cosy resto downtown and serves up a great European fare.It’s amongst my favorite places for lunch,more so as they make an absolutely beautiful Beetroot Risotto.My sister who hosted the lunch was keen that the menu be planned up ahead so as to avoid any confusion, as we were a large group.Grilled Fish in almond butter and Capers,Beef Tenderloin,Roasted chicken with pink peppercorns and Beet Risotto were our choice of mains.I was ever so happy see the Risotto feature on the menu and settled for just that.

So well, let’s say I’ve had  Risotto making on my mind since the lunch and have been reading some great blog posts and recipes too.I had promised the dear son that I would make some for his lunch this afternoon.Now I do  make a fairly decent one with Mushrooms and quite happy the way it turns out.I was just looking at a variation,so decided on a twist on the classic recipe by using some Beets.

I must say I was quite happy with the outcome.A humble attempt to replicate the one I normally indulge in at Cafe Zoe,none the less a delicious one.I’ve chosen to boil the beets and just puree them,all though you may even roast them and roughly grate them if you wish.I somehow felt that the route to a good Risotto was cumbersome and trying.How wrong have I been!The key really is just a little patience.It’s very important to toast the rice in the butter when you start off so that each grain gets warmed up and only then one could go ahead with glazing it with some wine.I’ve actually used some red wine in this recipe as I thought it would go well with the beets.

This is really a simple yet impressive meal and the beetroots lend a gorgeous colour and a hint of sweetness to the Risotto.The Parmesan shaving and drizzle add a hint of style making it quite eye-catching and an elegant presentation.This recipe is for keeps and I can’t wait to try it out again.

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Ingredients:

  • 320 grams Gallo Arborio rice
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 2-3 pods garlic (minced)
  • 2 small beetroot (boiled and pureed)
  • 40 grams butter
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • Freshly grated Parmesan shavings
  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions till translucent.
  2. Then add in the minced garlic  and sauté further.
  3. Add the rice and let sauté till rice is transparent.
  4. Add in the wine and stir till it evaporates.
  5. Now keep adding spoonfuls of the stock and let it simmer on a slow flame.
  6. Do keep adding more stock as the stock is absorbed by the rice.
  7. When you have used about 2/3 rd the amount of stock,you may start adding the beetroot puree a little at a time.
  8. Continue adding the stock and bits of puree till  the rice is cooked al dente and is creamy in texture( approx. 20-25 minutes).Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the parmesan shaving and season with some salt if necessary.
  10. Drizzle with Avocado Oil.
  11. Garnish with Parmesan Shavings.
  12. Serve hot.

Saffron Infused Rice Speckled with Tangy Barberries-Zereshk Polo:A Persian Delight

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Having lived for fifteen wonderful years in the Dubai and now currently in India,my taste buds have been hankering for some Middle Eastern flavours. Yes we did make a couple of short trips last year and revelled in all our favourite haunts. Especially the Lebanese,Persian and Moroccan ones.I’m very fond of Iranian cuisine ,especially the varied assortment of flavourful kebabs and the buttery,crispy rice that is an accompaniment with them.An all time favourite over the years has been the Pars Iranian cafe that served some of this deliciousness.This Persian  rice is termed as a Zereshk Polo or very simply put-a Saffron and butter infused rice and garnished with some sweet and sour Barberries,which are ever so popular in this cuisine.

A family dinner a couple of weeks ago got me making up some aromatic chicken kebabs and I thought I’d delight them all with a lovely Iranian rice dish.  Zereshk translates into the Barberries and Polo is the rice in Farsi.So it was decided I would go ahead and serve this rice. It was just as well  that my pantry had been recently replenished  with packets of Zataar, Sumac,Freekeh,Dried lemons and of course a generous amounts of these tart and tangy Barberries that lend a burst of flavour to this rice dish. Continue reading