We are not particularly huge fans of beetroot but for the last two years I’ve prepared and baked a number of dishes featuring beets as the main ingredient, in an attempt to find at least few that can make us appreciate it more and actually eat this vegetable with pleasure. Few months ago, when I first saw a recipe similar to the one you’re just about to read, thanks to Foodgawker, I was really tempted to try it. Well, I didn’t manage in the beetroot season, although we still had lots of beetroot: in soups (as the Russian vegetarian borscht and the dence beet soup with thyme bread croutons), as an ingredient in various salads and I even baked my favorite chocolate beetroot cake. But somehow I didn’t attempt a simple risotto with beetroot.
This time the reason bought beetroots is because I included it in our daughter’s menu for this week. Sofia is just eight months old but already proudly and skillfully self-feeding, taking her time and creating a Picasso-style painting of everything around. No need to say that every meal is followed by a shower… Coming back to beetroots she didn’t like them and I found myself with a large organic beet, already baked and peeled. So, that’s how I remembered the beet risotto recipe.
This bright and shiny dish tastes just the way it looks – vivid but also silky soft, simple but somehow festive. The sharp taste of Pecorino is a perfect match, but you can also use Parmesan or other mature cheese of your choice.
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
300-400g beetroot, cooked* and peeled
2 medium or 3 small onions, finely chopped
300 g of short-grained rice
50 g (2 tbsp) butter
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
100 ml table white wine
500 ml vegetable stock
50 – 100 g Pecorino cheese
*We use a lazy and very economic method to cook the beetroot – just wrap it, well washed, in aluminum foil, and place it in the bottom of the oven, when cooking something else. Depending on the size, it needs between 30 minutes to an hour. Leave it to cool without unwrapping and peel the skin off once it’s cooled. This way all the goodness remains in the beet, and nothing is loost.
In a heavy based pan, melt the butter and add the onions and garlic. Cook on low heat until the onion is soft but not brown – 8-10 minutes. Add the washed and drained rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the rice becomes translucent and then start adding the white wine, while constantly stirring. Cook like this (on low heat) for 5 -8 minutes or until the wine has evaporated completely. At this stage is important to be careful you don’t stop the cooking process by adding too much wine, too quickly.
Once you’ve done with the wine, start adding the hot vegetable stock, again in small portions. Continue cooking, stirring and adding broth as the rice absorbs it. Meanwhile grate the beetroot on medium grater. Add it to the risotto just before the last ladle or two of broth and stir. Once absorbed, taste the risotto – season with salt to your taste and add some more liquid, if the rice is still undercooked.
Finish it off with adding a tablespoon of butter and Pecorino, covering the pan with a lid and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. While resting the cooking process continues, so be careful not to overcook it.
Finally, mix in the melted Pecorino and the butter, season with freshly ground black pepper and shed more Pecorino on top of each portion, if you like.