Risotto With Beet Greens and Roasted Beets

My daughter, like most little ones her age, is becoming a bit pickier in her eating habits. I am exercising some serious patience with this, knowing that it is just a phase, that it isn’t my cooking, she’s just not terribly hungry these days. Unless, of course, you offer her a sleeve of saltines, then she’ll eat the whole thing. I haven’t given up, I always have a hunk of white cheddar and yogurt in the fridge, which I know she will eat, in case what I am serving her for dinner that night can’t pass those rosebud lips pursed up in a little scowl.

There are times that I have great success, we had lunch at an Indian restaurant today, she tried everything that we ate, and seemed to like it. The other night I made a beet risotto, something I had never made before. I didn’t have high hopes that she would eat it, I had roasted the beets the day before and tried to give her a taste, which she spit out immediately. But she ate the risotto with great gusto. I am not sure if it was the fact that the risotto was pink or the fact that it was delicious, but I am happy with either reason, whatever it takes!

I was also surprised that I liked it. I love beets, but for some reason I didn’t think that their earthy flavor would work in a creamy risotto, somehow the butter and the wine really eased the earthiness and it was delicious. I have to admit that I also got a kick out of the pink, I wish that the pictures could do the color justice.

Risotto With Beet Greens and Roasted Beets

adapted from the New York Times

  • 3/4 pound beets (1 bunch small), roasted
  • 1 bunch beet greens, stemmed and washed
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnarolli rice (Italians measure rice by demitasse cups, 1 cup for each person and one for the pot)
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Season well and turn the heat to low. Stack the stemmed, washed greens and cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips.

Heat a large stovetop casserole pan over medium-high heat and melt butter at the bottom of the pan, covering the pan. When the butter is melted add onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add rice and coat it in the butter, toasting it a bit. When the rice becomes opaque, after about 1 minute add a cup of wine to the pan, enough to cover the rice, stir frequently.

When the rice has absorbed the wine, add a ladleful of broth to the pan and continue stirring. Repeat and once the rice starts to absorb the broth add the roasted beets and the beet greens. Continue adding the broth as the rice absorbs it, you want it to almost dry out before adding the broth each time.

When the rice is finished it should be al dente and all of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove from heat and toss chopped parsley in. Serve immediately.

Variation: I often blanch greens when I get them home from the market so that they won’t wilt or rot in the refrigerator if I don’t get around to cooking them right away. If you do this, and want to use them for this risotto, chop the blanched greens and set aside. Add them to the risotto during the last few minutes of cooking, just to heat them through and amalgamate into the dish.

Advance preparation: The roasted beets will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator. You can get ahead on the risotto, cooking it just through Step 3, then spreading the rice out in the pan or on a baking sheet. Reheat and proceed with Step 4 shortly before serving.

Yield: Serves 4 to 5 generously as a main dish

One Year Ago: Ragù with Fresh Egg Fetuccini

Two Years Ago: Gemelli with Tuna alla Siciliana

~ by italicious on May 1, 2011.

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