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I feel so Virtuous March 10, 2011

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Eating Down the Fridge, Food.

I think I’ve mentioned that Saturdays around here are pasta night, right?


Basically, we don’t have to think too hard – if worst comes to worst, we can always just toss pasta with garlic and olive oil – we’re always happy with that.

Though granted, we do like to do a little better than that.  After all, with pasta, the possibilities are practically endless, you know?

Meanwhile, we’ve sort of decreed that, when it comes to filing recipes, well, risotto is “close enough” to pasta – enough, anyway, so they can be filed together.

And hey, if we can file a risotto recipe in the pasta file, well, I guess we can make risotto on


pasta night.  Am I right?

(Especially when it’s a self-imposed, unofficial, informal pasta night.)

Now, we’ve done a little experimenting with risottos – we’ve added stuff, we’ve substituted pasta for the rice, and even made barley risotto – a little playing with our food isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it?

And so, we ended up, on a Saturday evening, deciding to try a barley risotto with the last of the roasted beets from our garden (that I’d unearthed in the freezer).  And most of a quart of beef stock that was languishing in the fridge.


Huh.  Barley, beets, and beef.  Could work.

I don’t have an  actual recipe for what followed, seeing that we were pretty much winging it, but here’s what we did.  Feel free to substitute as necessary to suit your refrigerator.

We minced a couple of shallots, a couple of cloves of garlic, and some fennel (that was also in the freezer), then we sauteed them in plenty of olive oil.  Once they’re soft, stir in a cup of barley, coating the grains with the oil, then “deglaze” with about 1/3 cup of white wine.


Then, in true risotto fashion, add the heated stock (diluted with water, if necessary, to make 6 cups), a cup at a time, stirring after each addition and simmering until most of the liquid has been absorbed – then adding more.

Basic risotto protocol, you know.

Round about the last installment of stock, we added some already-roasted, diced beets.  (Since they were already cooked, we wanted to make sure they were heated, but not mushy.)


Then we added some feta cheese and rosemary.  Here’s the thing with the feta.

I often see beets paired with goat cheese.

Goat cheese tastes. . . like goats.  And, since I’ve met several goats in person, I think I am qualified to make that judgment.  Feta is a sheep’s milk cheese that’s just a little more . . . processed.  Same type of flavor as goat cheese, just a little less of it, that’s all.

And that’s really all she wrote.  No actual recipe (you’re shocked, I know!) – but honestly?  This was not really something that needed a written recipe.

And a plus is that, when reheated, it was actually better.

Beets, barley and feta cheese – how much better can it get? Healthy AND tasty – score one for pasta night!






1. Michelle Evanitsky - March 10, 2011

Kris I always love reading your blog! Where do you find the time and energy for everthing though?!

Hey, Michelle! Thanks. 🙂

Time and energy? What, me? Well, it helps that I don’t have kids at home (most of the time) – that, and I cheat a lot. 😉

2. kayatthekeyboard - March 10, 2011

I wish I liked beets. I just don’t. And I’ve never managed to make a risotto that tasted as good as I thought it ought to. Love it when I get it at a good restaurant, but somewhere, I’m not making a connection. Must try it again soon…..

Peeps’s mom doesn’t like them either. Me, I’ve always liked them (except those nasty pickled ones – blech!).

And I don’t know – sometimes the risotto is better than others – probably has something to do with the amounts of butter and cheese they use in a professional kitchen. Butter makes everything better. 😀

3. anne - March 10, 2011

You had me right up until the feta cheese. Blech, give me goat cheese any day. Feta is too close to bleu, and all those other mold encased cheese products.

Otherwise, yeah, we could do that. We like beets. 🙂

see, I think goat cheese is much stronger-tasting than feta. Goat cheese tastes like. . . like goats smell.

And bleu cheese — eew.

Also, you could probably toss in some fungus if you wanted to . . . 😉

4. May’s Third Thursday – Another Risotto « Dark Side of the Fridge - May 19, 2011

[…] the kind you eat out of a bowl (with a spoon if you can pull it off!).  And although risotto isn’t exactly new, this – this sticking a poached egg on top – is new, at least to […]

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