This recipe is inspired by the concept of "root to leaf," but I developed it with a friend in mind who recently told me she is exhausted by trying to cook with greens. "Try sneaking them into things you already cook!" I suggested. "Like ... what?" she asked. I took it as a challenge. She is a great lover of Italian food, so I decided I would have to find something that felt natural for her to cook but would help her use the greens from her CSA. Here was my favorite result.
Beet Green Pesto Risotto
Bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a pan. Heat the oil in a large sauté or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for one minute so that the rice is evenly coated in the oil.
If using, add in the white wine and stir until it is almost evaporated. Proceed to the next step otherwise.
Add the broth in 1/2 c. additions, and cook, stirring continuously but calmly, until each addition is mostly absorbed. (About 20-25 minutes total.)
After the last addition of broth has cooked in (the texture of your rice should be loose and creamy, but not soupy, with a soft bite to it), taste and add salt if needed, then add the pesto and stir in well.
Serve with a little freshly grated Greutli or Parmesan if desired.
Beet Green Pesto
Tear the beet greens into rough pieces and add to the bowl of a food processor with the basil, garlic and nuts. Pulse to coarsely chop the mixture, then, with the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a thin stream. Stop and scrape down the bowl and continue to blend until you have a rustic paste. You may need to add a bit more oil than suggested based on how delicate your greens are. Finish by adding the salt and blending to combine.
If you want to store this in the fridge, add a thin layer of oil to the top of your container to keep it from discoloring. It should keep for up to a week.
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