Saturday, September 19, 2009

Full-On Beet Risotto with Toasted Pecans

It's that time again -- the point in the year when you can saunter through the farmer's market and find absolutely perfect beets.
You know the ones -- the deeply colored purples, reds, pinks, and golds. Candy cane, bull's blood, Chioggas, and goldens. Not only are the roots flawless and plump -- but the greens are crisp and well formed.

I don't know about you, but I insist upon buying beets with the greens still attached. Not only are they lovely (and tasty -- similar to the flavor of Swiss Chard) -- but they really pack a nutritional punch. They're rich in chlorophyll and can actually possess a higher overall nutritional value than the beet root itself.

On this particular day, the red beets were calling my name. The wind was feeling a bit cool, and I was craving some serious comfort food. Beet risotto anyone?
Whenever I make beet risotto, I always go back to the same recipe -- brilliant beet risotto, which was inspired by an article from Food & Wine magazine a number of years ago). Like many great recipes, it's really more about technique than ingredients, and you can make all sorts of modifications to the ingredients of the recipe to suit your own tastes.

The first step is to chop the beets finely in your food processor. You'll do the same to the beet greens as well.
You saute onion and garlic, toast your arborio rice, and then add the raw beets and greens to the risotto pot. Add your stock, stir, and repeat. By the time your rice is al dente it's also deliciously pink. The beets are cooked and the kitchen smells great.
At this point, you can add your favorite cheese and any number of delicious add-ins.

In our case, we opted for a bit of Wisconsin parmesan and a dab of local buttermilk bleu cheese. I also stirred in some toasted pecans -- which added great flavor, a bit of protein, and a little bit of toothiness.
We've also tried other awesome combinations: cheddar cheese with a spoonful of horseradish, sour cream with chopped fresh dill weed, goat cheese and toasted walnuts... the possibilities are endless.

Brilliant Beet Risotto

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  1. Too many people think risotto is difficult to make, when it's actually just need patience with the stirring. Clearly the versatility lends to it's greatness. This sounds yummy. You just might be the only other person I know that likes beets!

  2. I've never tried beet risotto but I just love the vibrant color! Great idea to add the walnuts in, I can just see how that would enhance the flavor. Lovely!

  3. Next time we find beets here I think I will have to try this! E. John

  4. How purple were your hands? Love beets too. A truly underrated root vegetable. I have never tried my hand at making risotto but, really enjoy eating it.
    This dish that you prepared has beautiful color and looks fabulous!

  5. That looks beutiful. I only wish I liked beets. They are the only veggie that I struggle liking.

  6. I've only just started eating beets. This recipe looks fantastic!

  7. OK OK you twisted my arm. I'll make this!
    Looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I clipped this recipe quite some time ago - it was a submission from a 10 year old, right? However, I still need to try it!

  9. Good memory, Cafe Cyan.
    The recipe that originally inspired us to create our own recipe was a beet & cheddar cheese risotto from Food & Wine -- which was actually inspired by a 6 year old boy named Alexander Donowitz! Our recipe is quite a bit different (lots more beets, garlic, a higher concentration of broth), but the technique for chopping the beets before adding them to the risotto came from his recipe.

  10. Oh! Beets, haven't had the fresh ones for a while...your risotto looks yummie and colorful :-)

  11. I lOOOVE Beets! I agree, it is like a candy store this time of year!! I also agree that the greens are awesome!

  12. oh yummy! I love beets and this sounds like a great way to use them! Thanks so much!

  13. we 'risotto' in the pressure cooker; 7 minutes and it's perfect, every time.

    Usually when I think of "beet risotto" it's using the greens only!

    But I'm intrigued by your chopping raw technique. Usually when cooking with beets we've always roasted them first. Thanks for the tip!

  14. I do love fresh beets, such a striking colour and great flavour. Great pairing with the nuts and cheese.

  15. This looks fantastic. I love beets. I love risotto, but I never thought of putting the two together. YUM.

  16. Have three types of beets, and amazing greens... And beet hater Husband is going to be gone for supper tomorrow... I will either make this or the beet borscht! I grew up on the beet type of borscht since I had a Polish Great Grandmother, I remember her soup was always made with mushroom (foraged) and served with tangy sour cream. Maybe I'll make half a recipe of each...


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