Beet Risotto

Did you miss me? Well I missed you–its been a long time since I last posted, so I thought I’d come back with something bold and colorful: beet risotto. Even the beet skeptics will love this one given how rich, bright, and earthy this dish is.

But first, some important business. Yes, there’s no neglecting that Mike’s Table has gotten a little dusty these past few months and I apologize for that. This wasn’t due to a lack of interest–I’ve been cooking as much as before. The past several months have been a bit more hectic for me, one big reason being that I am in the midst of divorce (short version: she cheated). While a source of aggravation, I have been fine and that ordeal is but a small cloud lingering over the vast, clear sunny sky that is the rest of my life. I’ve been focused on myself and the many who truly matter in my life, like this beautiful little girl:

Sure, I probably won’t be posting at quite the same rate that I used to (Ramya keeps me busy!), but I just wanted to let you know that I’m not going away. Plus, after several months of not having a camera (important for a food blog–these photos don’t take themselves), I received a new camera for Christmas, so that obviously helps. ;-)

Anyways, I’m back to serving up food for you, reader, and I hope that you’ll keep your seat at Mike’s Table. So onto the food…

You may have noticed that I love risotto and have cooked a number of varieties. I’d consider this particular rendition to be a bit lighter than other risottos I’ve made in the past as there is slightly less hard cheese in this compared to others. Don’t let this mislead you though–this is definitely enough for a very satisfying meal unto itself.

The star (in case the title and blood red color didn’t give it away): beets. The flavor of a beet is inherently mild–almost like a sweet, vegetal dirt, to make it sound appealing. I paired this with flavors which I think add interesting harmony and fullness to the flavor: Bay leaves, caraway seeds, anise seeds, rosemary, and fresh ginger. Mixed in with the starchy, creamy wonder that is risotto and thickened with a bit of tangy goat cheese, well, its rich and pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. If you’re a fan of beets, I don’t need to sell you on this–you’ll love it. If you’re not, try this dish–you’ll change your tune.

Also, this dish pairs quite nicely with a strong white wine (I’m thinking a medium/full-bodied New Zealand styled Sauvignon Blanc–nothing too oakey) or an honest Provencal rosé (my favorite). A wine that is crisp, has acid, and a clear but not overbearing structure.

  • ~7 medium beets
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2-1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1 rosemary stalk
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups chicken stock (simmer with 4 bay leaves)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/4 lb goat cheese
  • Garnish
    • creme fraiche
    • crumbled goat cheese
    • sunchokes
    • chives

Start with your beets. Cut the leaves, rinse thoroughly in the sink, and set them aside for now. Discard the stems. Rubs the beets all over with a bit of oil, wrap in tin foil, and roast at 400°F for an hour.

When time is up, remove from the oven, open the tin foil a bit, and give the beets a few minutes to cool down. At this point, you should be able to rub them gently with your fingers and easily remove the skins. Throw the roasted beets in the food processor and give it a good whirl. Set this aside for now.

Before you do anything, have your chicken stock in a pot ready for your use. Keep it simmering with the Bay leaves in it for extra Bay flavor.

In a large pan, melt 2 Tbsp of the 3 Tbsp of butter. Dice up the onion and sauté until lightly browned, around 10 minutes.

Add in the finely minced garlic and ginger, sautéing for a minute further. Add in the caraway seeds, anise seeds, and rice. Stir constantly to prevent burning.

After a minute or two of sautéing, deglaze the pan with balsamic and wine, stirring over medium heat until the wine is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Add in the finely diced rosemary leaves.

This begins the usual risotto process: add ~1/4-1/2 cup of warm stock to the rice, stirring periodically, and once its all been absorbed, repeat. In total, this should take you somewhere around 20-30 minutes. Don’t let the rice stick or burn–keep working that pan.

When you estimate that you have 5-10 minutes left of cooking the risotto (you’ll know because your stock pot is quickly approaching empty), add the coarsely diced beet greens as well as the beet purée to the risotto. Give this a good stir to incorporate it well and the color of your risotto will go from blah to shockingly red.

Once you’ve used up the last of the stock, add the grated parmesan, the crumbled goat cheese, the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter, and give things a good stir to integrate. Season the dish to taste with salt and pepper.

You have a number of options for garnish. The one thing I’d consider the best option and a must if you have access to it: creme fraiche. The flavor pairs phenomenally with this dish–a small quenelle goes a long way. Other ideas: slivered sunchokes for crunch, crumbled goat cheese for added tang, snipped chives–whatever you choose, enjoy!

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15 Responses to “Beet Risotto”

  1. bellini Says:

    Gorgeous colour Mike to make your 2011 debut.

  2. Chandi Says:

    Hey Mike,
    I just stumbled across your site for Indian cooking. You’ve awesome recipes in here across the globe.I’m a strict vegetarian, and I love beets, so though this recipe looks good, I may not be able to try it, but loved your vegetarian Indian recipes though. I’m from south India, and am used to making south Indian dishes a lot.

    Here’s an Indian recipe site that I follow : http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/category/lentils-and-legumes/urad-dal-washed/

    You’re the first guy who has a food blog, that I came across. I felt your guests must be very lucky for one thing, they get to eat gourmet food made by you very often ! Who does not find it genuinely caring ? Thanks a lot for your awesome recipes.

    I’m sorry to hear about your divorce, mainly that cheating is involved which is a huge deal breaker.I’m sorry for Ramya as well, the good thing is she doesn’t know of things too much, so that’s a plus for her.

  3. Monique Says:

    Your little girl is adorable..

    and the beet risotto sounds different and delicious..Here’s to a good 2011~

  4. Tracy Says:

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve missed your posts and am so glad you’re back! Funny thing is, I almost considered taking you off my RSS feed yesterday, but decided against it and now here you are!

    I had beet risotto at a restaurant during the holidays and loved it, so am excited to see this recipe.

    I’m sorry to hear about your divorce, but am glad you are comforted by the presence of your beautiful daughter. My mother-in-law recently went through the same thing and while it has been a strain on the family in 2010, we are all looking forward to this new year and putting the past behind us. Cheers to you and Ramya in 2011!

  5. Beth Says:

    Glad to see you posting again! I love beet risotto, both for flavor and because of the color. There’s a very simple recipe on food & wine with cheddar that’s quite good, but I’m anxious to try this version.

  6. Linda Says:

    Mike- I’ve missed you. Glad to see you’re back. You are truly an inspiration. And by the way I love beets so this goes on my list of “gotta try”.

  7. Caitlin (EatFeats) Says:

    Oh my I LOVE beets–this looks wonderful! Sorry about your recent turbulence, but I admire your focus on the positive. =]

  8. Joanne at Frutto della Passione Says:

    Yes, I did miss you and I’m glad you’re back. So sorry to hear about your personal problems but your daughter is lovely and I’m sure you’ll both pull through together. Glad to have you back. This looks stunning. The colour is so inviting! All the best in 2011!

  9. gr8guy2no Says:

    Sorry to hear about the Divorce Handsome.
    Time to cook up a storm and focus on the positive parts of life..You, your daughter & the great food you make.

  10. Raisa Davis Says:

    Hey Mike…just stumbled on your web site…..Going to try your Osso Bocco….and risotto…

  11. the caked crusader Says:

    Hi Mike – I’ve been wondering what happened to you! So sorry to hear the reason why I’ve not been seeing your lovely food. I’m sending you cakey best wishes and hope 2011 is a happier year for you.

  12. Arancini di Riso (deep-fried balls of risotto) from Mike's Table Says:

    [...] Beet Risotto (11) [...]

  13. Spring Pea Risotto with Garlic Scapes and Pancetta from Mike's Table Says:

    [...] I want to enjoy the produce of spring-time, whether its beets or asparagus, I’ve found I follow something of a trend: I make risotto. So with the arrival [...]

  14. Brian Says:

    Good stuff!

  15. Dan Paulus Says:

    This is my second valentines day making Beet Risotto for my wife. Not only is it beautifully red, but it was so good that she dropped hints this year that she was hoping to have it again. This is delicious, thank you

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