Unconventional mascarpone risotto with oven roasted vegetables and beet greens

Risotto

Two nights ago I roasted vegetables for supper. I had to deal with a load of them left from my weekly delivery. What was left over, I pureed with the intention to prepare a nice wintery soup for the following day at work. But as it happened, in the fury of preparing for the day, I fell short of time. In the evening I took the pure out and noticed I had a bunch of wilting beet greens that badly needed cooking. I remembered an amazing risotto I had once eaten in a restaurant in Queen’s Park with pumpkin and spinach and came with an idea. I’ll mix the roasted veggie pure in the risotto and add the beet greens to balance the sweetness.

I haven’t cooked risotto for a long time because of the white rice. I don’t keep white items in my cupboard anymore. Table salt, white sugar, flour and rice are what they now call anti-nutrients. I didn’t have brown Arborio rice so I had to use plain brown rice. For risotto enthusiast this might be a big transgression but I thought I’d break the rules and try and, oh boy, did it work! The sweet and earthy flavours of the rice, roasted root vegetables and mascarpone combined with the bitterness of greens made such a great combination that I could not help but to share this with you. So, here it goes:

P.s. I warn you, this is not a conventional way of cooking the risotto because the rice is different. I also won’t be able to give you an exact recipe because I worked with my gut feelings. I can only guess these were the measures:

200ml brown rice

Water

1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

Ghee

1 large onion

1dl white wine

2 tbsp mascarpone cheese

200ml roasted vegetable pure’

(I used: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and garlic)

Bunch of beet greens

parmesan cheese

salt

pepper

Olive oil

Cook the rice in water with bouillon powder until tender. Pure’ roasted vegetables with some warm water in a blender. Chop the beet greens and fry them gently in a small amount of ghee until soft and season with salt. Finely chop the onion and, in a separate pan, fry in ghee until golden and tender. Add the rice and wine and let cook for a few minutes. Add mascarpone and let it melt in the rice. Add vegetable pure and mix well. Mix beet greens in and season with salt and pepper. Add a little grated parmesan cheese but not to overpower the taste of other ingredients. When serving garnish with olive oil.

Ghee is the love of my life

SAMSUNG CSCGhee is the love of my life. My story with this healthiest of the healthy fats is a story with a happy ending.

Ghee has myriad health benefits, not least being the best one to fry with. You might have heard about fats going rancid or turning into those harmful, trans fat ones when heated. Ghee does not go bad quickly. In fact Teflon goes bad before ghee does. So, if you need to enjoy fried food, make sure you fry it in ghee. I have even changed olive oil in my Italian kitchen to ghee. I add the olive oil at the end of cooking so that it keeps its good qualities and I get the flavour I want.

When good quality ghee is used in reasonable quantities it reduces blood cholesterol, enhances digestion and metabolism. In fact, the gut produces ghee on its own, called butyric acid, and without it the gut cannot function properly. Ghee is also brain food, it nourishes and lubricates the nervous system and is very good for the eyes. In fact, I often prescribe an application of ghee straight into the eyes for those having problems with dryness, heat and tiredness. I also heal eye infections with ghee, the last one being those of my 3-year-old. Talk to my previous receptionist. She had an infection in both eyes and it was dealt within three days with a frequent application of ghee. It works wonders.

Here’s how to make it:

  • Melt 2-3 packs of organic unsalted butter in a pot

SAMSUNG CSC

  • Let the butter melt really, really slowly so the milk residue (proteins) settle at the bottom of the pot

SAMSUNG CSC

  • Pour the mixture through a muslin cloth and what is strained through the cloth is fresh ghee

SAMSUNG CSC

If your hob is too hot to let the butter melt slowly, don’t worry – you can still obtain good ghee by slowly letting it boil for a few hours. The milk solids then come to the surface and you can peel them off and, in the end, pour the mixture through a muslin cloth to get your homemade ghee.