I prefer my risotto to be really soft and almost porridge-like. This usually means cooking it for about 30 minutes, if you run out of stock and the risotto is still not quite cooked to the way you like it, you can add some extra hot water. Fresh ricotta cheese can be substituted for the goats’ cheese.
8 large stalks of cavolo nero (Tuscan kale)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups (400 g) arborio rice
½ cup (125 ml) white wine
450 g fresh beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated (shredded)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
6 ½ –7 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter ½ cup (45 g)
Parmesan, freshly grated
Soft goats’ cheese, for serving
1. Thoroughly wash the kale. Remove and discard the entire thick part of the stalk and finely chop the leaves. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry gently until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
3. Stir the rice into the onion and garlic mixture and cook until the rice turns opaque. Pour in the wine and keep stirring until it is absorbed.
4. Stir the beetroot and any of its juices into the rice, season well with salt and pepper and cook for about 1 minute.
5. In another saucepan, heat the stock until hot and leave on a low simmer on the stove throughout the cooking time.
6. Add one ladleful of stock to the rice and stir continuously until it is absorbed. Continue doing this one ladleful at a time until there is just over a ladleful of stock left. At this stage the rice should be almost cooked.
7. Stir in the kale and continue cooking for another 4–5 minutes, slowly adding the stock until the rice is fully cooked and the kale is tender.
8. Stir in the butter, Parmesan and crumbled cheese, check and adjust the seasoning and serve immediately, garnished with some extra crumbled goats’ cheese.
Recipe from Cooking with Kale by Rena Patten, available now from New Holland Publishers.