Every time I cook with beets I am reminded what a boon it is in this marvelous world of ours to not be colorblind. As more color surrounds us, everyone seems to live more alertly, more joyously. This year we had an early spring (or not much of a winter) and, like every year, everyone was amazed all over again at the color emerging from skeletal trees, dead earth and pallid skies, as if we’d forgotten how nature works. It’s a perfect time to celebrate color in cooking: last week the magnolia trees were blooming; this weekend at the aquarium I saw jumping neon poison arrow dart frogs; today I stained my hands with ruby juice chopping beets.
I can’t think of many dinner dishes that look as much like a present as this one, and yet it is so simple and quick. Instead of adding broth a little at a time, as risotto is traditionally made, this recipe combines the rice and broth all in one step and lets it cook, covered, until tender. Before serving, the recipe calls for a final touch of goat cheese, which I strongly recommend. Substitute feta if you can’t find goat cheese (I did, as seen in the photos), but I found that the flavor of feta was too salty and the texture too dry to pair favorably with the creamy risotto.
Lightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen Blog. Serves 4.
- 1/4 cup butter (or olive oil)
- 2 whole beets, scrubbed and diced
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- pinch sea salt
- black pepper
- 1/2 cup goat cheese or feta cheese (optional)
- small handful toasted pine nuts (optional)
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the beets and onion, and cook for 8 minutes.
- Mix in the rice, broth, and balsamic vinegar. Increase the heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes).
- Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and pine nuts. Serve immediately.