Creating character and charismatic food on a menu is not easy. One of the hardest challenges of being an executive chef is keeping the menu fresh and exciting while not alienating repeat customers with too many new dishes. When local farmers start to bring fall produce to Frank’s restaurant, he knows it is time to think about the next menu. The idea of this new entree was inspired out of his love for risotto and beets. A simple beet salad was not enough for Frank! He was looking for a dish that had a bit of complex taste and a bite to it. The dish was also fast, simple to make, and incorporated butternut squash and beets, two elements of the fall and the harvest. This time let’s add the nutty flavor of butternut squash, a tangy whipped goat cheese, and thinly shaved fried leeks. The outcome is a delicious dish purchased frequently by many customers that eat at Northstar and is currently available from Frank. Sometimes you gotta “Kick it up a Notch!”
Frank’s suggestion for this meal is to keep it simple. Don’t over think it. He likes to open a bottle of pinot noir to pair nicely with this dish. If you can not come out to the restaurant the recipe is below for you to make at home.
(Beet & Butternut Squash Risotto Or, as Max likes to call it, Bowling With Buttercup Squash.)
The ingredients that you will need for this recipe are as followed:
- 1 Medium Size Onion (My favorite local farm for Onions is Silver Queen Farms)
- 1 Red Beet (To mix it up try Golden Beets)
- 1/4 of a Butternut Squash
- 1/4 cup of Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Salt
- 4 cups of Risotto Rice
- 8 cups of Beet Stock (Beet Stock is made using the scraps of Onions and Beets, 2 tablespoons of NOT CHICKEN BASE, and 6 cups of water)
- 2 tablespoons of No Chicken Base (I like to use the brand Better Than Bouillon)
- ½ cup Chablis wine (white cooking wine is also just fine)
The type of equipment you will need is as followed:
- 1 Large Frying Pan
- Measuring Cups
- Wooden Spoon
- Cutting Knife or Chef Knife
- Vegetable Peeler
- Cutting Board
Peel the beets, onions, and butternut squash and then dice them into finely cut cubes or any shapes you want to make. Make the beet stock (you can do this by boiling all the scraps for 15 minutes.) In the large frying pan start heating your oil over a medium flame, then begin to add the onions, beets and butternut squash pieces until the onions begin to sweat (giving them a translucent look.) Then add the salt, pepper and risotto rice. Cook until the risotto rice is fragrant, and start adding the beet stock 1 cup at a time, until everything is used up. Finally deglaze the risotto with the half of cup of chablis or cooking wine. Waft the steam of the risotto towards your face and when the steam no longer has an alcohol smell take it from the flame. ***Be sure to keep stirring the rice during the entire cooking process or the rice will burn.*** This happens because the rice releases starch into the liquid and thickens the beet stock into a creamy consistency. Wait until the risotto rice is soft and fully cooked. Serve over a pool of Whipped Goat cheese and garnish with Fried Leeks.
Plate the the dish as follows. Take one scoop of whipped goat cheese and place it in the middle of the dish. In a circular motion move the goat cheese around in the dish. Scoop the risotto into the middle of the goat cheese and top with Fried Leeks.