Roasted Beet Risotto

13 01 2010

I was looking for something to do with the beets in my refrigerator so I started surfing the web for inspiration. I found a Youtube video of Rachel Ray making this Roasted Beet Risotto. Go Rachel! If you love beets, you will love this risotto. The color is amazing. I served it with Grinach bread and it made for a very festive menu, perfect Christmas colors. Every good risotto begins with Arborio rice and a really good stock. I just used vegetables I found in my refrigerator like potatoes, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, and even the stems of the beets after having stripped the greens to use as a garnish. The red stems added a beautiful color to the stock.

I made a lot of this risotto so I turned the leftovers into Beet Risotto Cakes. I made them into patties, like crabcakes, and sauteed them in some olive oil on the stove until they browned nicely which caramelized the rice a bit. Serve this with a cucumber/yogurt raita.

Roasted Beet Risotto

4 medium beets, scrubbed, stems and root ends trimmed and greens chopped and reserved for garnish

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling

Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry sherry

1/2 cup (2 or 3 handfuls) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the beets on a large piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with some oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, top with thyme sprigs and fold the foil into a pouch. Roast the beets inside the pouch until tender, about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

When the beets are done roasting, remove them from the pouch and let cool for a few minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, lightly rub the outside of them with a paper towel to remove the skins. Transfer the beets to a food processor and puree them until smooth. Reserve the puree until the risotto is finished cooking.

Bring the  stock to a boil in a pot, then reduce the heat to low to keep warm.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons oil and butter. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions begin to get tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the arborio rice and toast it in the pan, stirring constantly with the veggies, 2-3 minutes more. Add wine or sherry and cook until the liquid has absorbed, 1 minute.

Ladle enough stock in to cover the rice and bring it up to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer the mixture on a medium heat while stirring continuously, until most of  the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding stock, one ladle at a time, and stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue this process of adding stock and stirring until the rice is tender and creamy but still slightly firm in the center. You do not want it to be mushy. Add in the beet puree and a bit more  stock and stir to blend in all beets. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. (You can add another tablespoon of butter at the end to make it really rich and creamy.)

Serve up the risotto immediately and garnish each plate with the chopped beet greens. Serve with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.


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