(Halloween) Beet Risotto

beets.jpgIn a comment response to my Halloween candy alternatives post, Tracy made the excellent suggestion of creating a pre-Halloween feast, given that there’s time since Halloween falls on a Saturday, and also to fill bellies so there's less room to gorge on candy. Tracy’s Halloween “gross-out menu” includes beet risotto (aka “Blood and Guts”), which another commenter requested. The beet risotto recipe follows below:

+ + + + +

From Tracy:

This method can be adapted to make any type of risotto you feel like having. I like to make it using whatever is on hand (roasted peppers, asparagus and peas, cooked chicken, etc.). This is also a great recipe to add puree (e.g., butternut squash or pumpkin) to. Here are some basic tips, followed by my beet risotto recipe:

  • Risotto is made from a short grain rice, which is what allows it to absorb so much liquid. Long grain rice won’t work. Look for Arborio or sometimes Carnaroli.

  • You will need a flavor base. Traditionally this is olive oil + onions, shallots, and/or garlic.

  • You will need a flavorful liquid, such as stock or broth. You will need about 5-6 cups liquid for every 2 cups rice (this will serve 6 people moderate sized main dishes). Most recipes will call for a cup or so of wine to cook with as part of the liquid content. If you don’t have wine on hand, or prefer not to use it, sub the same amount of stock instead.

  • Some people are intimidated by making risotto because of the instructions to stand at the stove and stir constantly. However, I have found you don’t really need to do that. Stay close and stir often, but constant stirring isn’t necessary.

  • You will know the risotto is ready by doing what my kids call a “line test.” Draw a line with your spoon (it helps to have a flat headed wooden spoon for this) across the bottom of the pot. If you can still see the pot when you finish drawing the line, it’s ready for more stock. If the rice and liquid rush back in before you make your line, then give it another minute or so and try again. Keep adding liquid until the rice is cooked al dente. When you take a taste the rice should be just slightly chewy and should look a little soupy or creamy.

    + + + + +

    Beet Risotto
    Modified from Trish Magwood’s recipe on foodtv.ca

  • 3 medium beets
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small white onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups Italian short grain rice (Arborio)
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (sub with stock if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c. of parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish (optional)

    1. Wash and peel beets. Place beets in a medium saucepan, add 3 cups stock + 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 40-45 minutes or until fork-tender. Remove the beets and allow to cool (place in freezer to speed up cooling time if you need to), reserving the stock that the beets were cooking in. Grate beets and set aside.

    2. In a wide saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.

    3. Add rice to saucepan and stir to coat. Add wine and bring to a boil, cooking for 2 minutes.

    4. Add the stock that the beets were cooking in, one ladle at a time. Before adding the next ladle of stock, allow rice to absorb all liquid in the pan. After the first 3 ladles, add the grated beets. Continue adding stock one ladle at a time and cook for about 18-20 minutes or until cooked to desired doneness. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add cheese if you’re using it (we don’t, due to my son’s allergies). Grate cheese over top for garnish.

    Image credit: Clipart Graphics