Recipe: Beet and Cheddar Risotto

Back with another new beet recipe that I tried! Remember, beets are new to me, so I’ve been looking for different ways to cook them as I try to explore their full culinary prowess. Yesterday the recipe I made came from a six year-old! Admittedly, he should be 9 or 10 by now, but I found this recipe in my recipe binder which I had torn out from Food & Wine’s August 2007 issue.

Before I give you the recipe, it’s worth sharing the intro that its creator, Alexander Donowitz, is given: “Alexander Donowitz […] combined two of his favorite ingredients–beets (“because red is my favorite color”) and cheddar cheese–to create this super-creamy, vibrant risotto. “I think I’m the only kid in my class who eats beets, he says.” Cute kid, right?

And it certainly is another beautiful beet dish:

Here’s the recipe (with my adjustments):

– 1 medium beet peeled and quartered (I used 2 small ones)
– 2 cups loosely packed beet greens, stems trimmed
– 2 cups water
– 2 cups vegetable broth (I used 4 cups homemade chicken stock instead of veggie broth and water)
– 1 medium onion, minced
– (I also added 1 garlic clove, minced)
– 1 cup arborio rice (this is a starchy, short-grained Italian rice and what makes a risotto a risotto)
– 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 2 cups (I used yellow cheddar which turned my red risotto into a more salmon color; white cheddar may produce a less-orange color, if that matters to you; use what you have! I also found this a bit much and might use less in the future)
– salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Place the beet in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the beet greens and pulse until finely chopped. *Note: I don’t currently own a food processor, so I just chopped and chopped my beets as small as I could get ’em. Same for the greens. Admittedly, if I had a 6 year-old who was making this recipe, I’d probably rather they dropped everything in the food processor rather than trying to chop super small with a sharp knife.*
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the (water and) broth to a simmer. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion (and garlic) and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the beets and beet greens and cook for another minute. (Salt and pepper as you go). (Oh, and if you’re a fan of deglazing with wine, here’s where you would do it–probably with a glass of a white wine that you have. Just pour it in and let the onions and rice soak it up. It will smell fantastic. When it’s just about evaporated and been absorbed, continue on…)
3. Add the broth to the large saucepan, 1 ladleful at a time, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the liquid is nearly absorbed between additions, about 20 minutes total (I went for 30 minutes). (This is the healing, therapeutic part of making risotto. You gotta stay by the stove stirring somewhat constantly for a good half hour. It’s soothing to inhale the aromas and watch and listen as the risotto becomes thicker and stickier).
4. Add the cheddar cheese. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Cook, stirring until the risotto is creamy and thick, about 3 minutes longer.

Delicious. Thick. Creamy. Cheesy. Rich. A small bowl will fill you up quickly. Definitely a keeper. Bon appetit!

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One thought on “Recipe: Beet and Cheddar Risotto

  1. […] suddenly available in abundance locally and seasonally. Since I started this blog, we’ve had beet and cheddar risotto, fried risotto balls, and now I hope you won’t mind me sharing another […]

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