Whenever I am home visiting my parents, my mom likes for me to make risotto. Since my beet risotto, which I normally make at Christmas, is one of her favorites, I made a batch up with mom.
I really find the combination of beets and risotto irresistible. It is a recipe that works in the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Being a bright, magenta, it is one of the most visually attractive risottos you will ever make. As flavors go, I like to offset the earthiness of the beets by brightening the flavor with orange, dill, and feta. You can serve it with fish or chicken, but it goes really well with beef. While other recipes I saw recommend roasting the beets first, I tend to cook mine in the broth I am going to use for cooking the risotto. This gives the risotto even more color and depth of flavor.
4 cups broth
Juice and zest of one orange
1 tablespoon dried dill
One bunch of beets (1-2 cups, depending how much beet you like it), chopped into small cubes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, diced fine
½ cup carrots
½ cup celery
1 cup beet greens (about the greens from one bundle of beets), chopped fine
1 cup risotto
½ cup white wine
Feta and parsley for garnish
- Put the broth, orange juice and zest, dill, and beets in a saucepan. Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- In a large shallow pan over medium heat, add one tablespoon each of oil and butter to pan. When butter has melted and the oil is hot, add the onions, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat the onions, celery, and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the beet greens and cook for about 2 minutes. Scoop out the vegetables and set aside on a plate.
- Add the other tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. When hot, add the Arborio and stir until the grain is translucent, except for a white dot in the center (about 5 minutes). Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed.
- Add a ladleful of stock, stirring continually. Wait until the stock is completely absorbed before adding another ladleful. Continue to keep adding broth a ladleful at a time, only adding more once the broth is absorbed. It should take about 20 minutes to get the risotto tender.
- When the risotto is soft and you have added all but the last ½ cup of broth, add the beets from the stock. Then add the last ½ cup of stock and the vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, and beet greens).
- Cover with a lid and let finish over a low heat for about 5 minutes. When you are ready to serve, add a small pad of butter and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
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