Is it time to start gearing up for Valentine's Day yet? I hope so. I can't seem to stop using all of my heart shaped cookie cutters. Even for unusual purposes, like cutting out tiny heart-shaped beets to top this delicious beet risotto.We make risotto a lot at home. There are about a million different flavors you can make. We often keep it simple, using just a little onion or garlic for the base (aromatics) and whatever leftover wine we have on hand. Often our risotto will turn out a slight purple color, due to the addition of red wine (we drink more red than white wine this time of year). So I thought it would be fun to work with this color and maybe even enhance it with the addition of beets. This turned out really tasty and would be absolutely delicious as a meal or paired with some grilled shrimp or a tuna steak (we are mostly fish eaters—can you tell?).Beet Risotto, serves two as a meal or four as side.
1 cup arborio rice
2 small beets (plus another to make the hearts for garnish, optional)
1 small red onion
1/2 cup red wine (any kind you prefer will do)
2 3/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt + pepper
Prepare the onion and beets. For the onion, remove the outside layer and ends. Dice into small pieces. For the beets peel off the skin (like you would a carrot, both are root vegetables), chop off the top and bottom. Dice into very small cubes. You really want these to be quite small, otherwise they won't cook through enough by the time the rice cooks. Another option is to grate the peeled beets, using a box grater.
In a large sauce pan or pot heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion and beet bits just until the onions begin to soften. Add the rice and another tablespoon butter and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the edges of the rice begin to look translucent.
Pour in the wine and cook until it has mostly reduced, stirring as you cook.In another, smaller pot keep the stock at a low simmer. I usually start off with a little more stock than I think I'll need (just in case). So for this recipe you can simmer 3 cups stock and you probably won't end up using it all.
Pour warm stock into the rice pan, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring in between each addition. You want most of the liquid to absorb before adding the next 1/2 cup. Once most of the stock has been absorbed (cook time will vary but it will probably be around 12-16 minutes) taste a few peices of rice. They should be mostly cooked through, but not totally. Similar to cooking pasta al dente. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the cheese into the risotto and remove from heat. If you push a spoon through the risotto it should hold it's shape while slowly oozing back into place (like the picture above shows). You can add a splash of cream if you like, but I usually leave this out as I think risotto is often creamy enough. :)Top with a few raw beet hearts. Do it! We are entering the one time of year this amount of cheesiness is allowed. HEARTS ON EVERYTHING! Enjoy! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman