Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Roasted Beet Risotto

Let's do a quick, informal survey.

Do you make risotto?

A yes or no in the comments will suffice, but I'd love to hear when you turn to this creamy, satisfying rice dish and what your favorite additions are. And if the answer is no, why not? I'm not one to cook rice as a side dish all that often, although I do like brown rice flavored with scallions and garlic. When it comes to risotto, however, I hardly put it on the same plane with simple steamed rice.

From the method of cooking, to the rich, toothsome end result, risotto is more than just a grain dish. Most of the time, I made it the main meal. I like to add poached chicken, but shrimp or roasted veggies are nice. If you do want to make risotto a side dish, then I think you may as well make it memorable. I usually try to avoid gushingly purple prose when describing food, but what can I say? Stained a striking hot pink and bejeweled with roasted beets, this risotto is a stunner.

Unlike the red wine risotto with arugula I made a while ago, this version gets all its gorgeous magenta color from fresh roasted beets. The recipe has no twists whatsoever; it's risotto 101. You can roasted the beets a day or a few hours ahead. It's an extra step, but it couldn't be easier. If you've only had canned beets (I still like tossing the shredded ones in salad), you'll love the clean, earthy taste of fresh ones.

I made this risotto to go with steaks for a fantastic Valentine's Day dinner that actually happened the day after. Because it's an all-veggie risotto, I think it's well suited for a side. But no one would mistake it for an afterthought.

I found this recipe on the Gourmet magazine website and was sold by their (much more beautiful than above) photo. I cut the recipe in half and omitted the wine, which I tend to do if I don't have an open bottle of white. If you want to make this vegetarian, use mushroom broth instead of chicken. Here's an old post of mine describing the basic risotto technique, with step-by-step photos. And here is one of my all-time favorites, Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Mushrooms.

11 comments:

Jada Ach said...

Yum! This is such a pretty dish. I will definitely have to try this soon, as I'm sure to love any dish that shines with this amount of pink florescence!

Sarah said...

I love to hate making risotto. It seems every time I make it I tell myself never again because it's too much work. But I keep coming back to it again and again because it's so good. I think I'm also beginning to accept the zen-like calm 50 minutes of attentive risotto stirring can produce.

(BTW, thanks for the book suggestions on freelance writing. They have been most helpful.)

billjac said...

Sarah, I've heard that you don't need to stir nearly so much, but, since my risottos usually end up a bit chalky and I don't know why, my advice is suspect.

My default inclusions are prosciutto, onions and mushrooms, but I made a shrimp, butternut squash and brown butter risotto that turned out nicely not too long ago.

Chris @ Beyond Ramen said...

I am a huge fan of risotto - whoever discovered that one could get such creaminess out of rice and broth made an incredibly finding in my opinion. And since I have no doubt that we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths, the red color here is simply fantastic!

Mark Scarbrough said...

Love risotto. Make it. In fact, mushroom risotto used to be our go-to meal after the movies--but I'll admit we made it in the pressure cooker. 7 minutes and done. But it does not compare to stirring and stirring to abrade that rice starch into the sauce. I find it so Zen, the constant stirring. I can't wait to try it with beets--and probably the beet greens, too.

Julie said...

Sarah & Billjac: it's true--you only need to stir for about 22 minutes! It is very zen, as Mark says! Billjac, your default sounds amazing.
Mark: I think the beet greens would be amazing in the risotto. I didn't know a pressure cooker would work...intriguing.

abby said...

mmmm. yes to risotto. my favorite as of late is with white wine, mushrooms, and peas.

liberal foodie said...

no, but I should! A friend came over last weekend and we cooked from January's food and wine- that was a blast. She made the basic risotto and we all were in heaven. I don't make it because I never think of making it. From cooking school, I've learned the techniques and know that it's fairly easy but I guess I haven't gotten over the hump of JUST making it. Garlic, serrano hame, cream and saffron risotto would be my first attempt at it.

Julie said...

Abby: your mushroom and pea risotto sounds classic and delicious--vegetarian too!
Liberal: I've never done mine with saffron--I know it's a classic pairing for osso buco--but I like that you'd add the serrano, and definitley bring on the garlic. My mouth is kinda watering...you should definitely get over the hump!

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joey said...

make rissotto like twice a month never same one twice but last week did carrot and roasted quince with balsmic cherry glazed duck