"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Beet it: Beet Risotto Nobody Wanted

by Julie on July 13, 2011

in Stuff the Kids Won't Eat, Dinner


Beet Me

I can’t resist buying beets at the Farmer’s Market. And I have nothing but the best intentions for them. I’ll roast them! Pickle them! Put them in a salad! Oh the delicious nutrition! Plus we’ll all pee red! W00t!

Alas, too often I won’t get around to roasting my beets, and when I finally do surface from my messy to-do list, I’ll find my glorious beets all shriveled and leathery. The greens I’d meant to saute brown and beyond saving.

This week I wasn’t going to let that happen. As soon as I got them home I washed them, wrapped them in tinfoil and roasted them at 350 for an hour. (smaller beets will take less time. When a knife goes thru them easily, they’re done)

But then I got hugely distracted and let them sit on the counter for another day. So it was going to be a double tragedy – not only wasted beets, but wasted roasted beets. Bad Julie.

I snapped out of it and found my motivation. I was gonna make me some beet risotto with sauteed beet greens, a la this recipe in the New York Times.

Nobody was as enthused as I was.

The Drama Teen called me that afternoon from a friend’s house. “What’s for dinner tonight?”

“Beet Risotto.”

A pause. Then, “Please don’t.”

The boy didn’t respond well, either. “What’s risotto?” he asked. “Can you get me a burrito instead?”

Even as I stood over my stove stirring the stuff my neighbor inquired skeptically. “Why are you going through the trouble? Your kids aren’t gonna eat that, you know.”

Probably right. But I’m doing what I want these days. And I was making beet risotto, damnit.

Besides, we were out of all acceptable breakfast cereals. The kids would eat this or go hungry.

Here’s how I did it, riffing off a recipe from Cooking with Amy: (I decided against trying it with the greens this time.)

2 decent-sized beets, roasted and chopped into little chunks

chopped beets

Yes, it will be messy

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cups white wine
2-3 cups of veggie stock (Good old TJ’s works great…but you don’t need the whole package) . You can also use chicken stock.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat up the veggie stock to a little simmer. Don’t let it boil. Season expertly.

In another pan, saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add the risotto and swirl it around, coating it with oil and onions, and let it toast a bit. About 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the wine (go ahead and have a little swig yourself while you’re at it). Stir. When the wine cooks off, add the chopped beets.

Stir. It turns pink! You’re having fun now, boy!

stir your beet risotto

Stirred, not shaken

Now add the heated stock, about half a cup at a time (I just did it ladle by ladle), stirring until it’s fully absorbed, then add another ladle-full. Keep stirring. Amy says it takes almost exactly 18 minutes to make risotto, so I set my timer. And danged is she wasn’t right.

Keep stirring. Sip a little more wine for fortification.

When the risotto is neither mushy nor chewy, add one more splash of stock and cover for just a minute. It shouldn’t be too wet or too dry. After a minute or so, add the Parmesan cheese and stir in. Taste for seasoning and adjust thusly.

Guess what?

beet risotto

Everybody eats pink stuff

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

sarah gilbert July 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

you inspired me, Julie. I took the bunch of beets *I* had in the fridge (from buying club pickup today), a bunch of baby carrots, and some radishes left over from last week’s farmer’s market. I roasted the beets and carrots and radishes in a hot oven. I sauteed the beet greens with new garlic and made myself a late lunch with greens, kinda-poached eggs, and melted mozzarella (I am so. full.). best of all, I chopped up the stems from the beets and put them in the oven with some balsamic vinegar and honey. sooo delicious, and most of it would have ended up in the compost heap if it wasn’t for your post!

tomorrow, risotto, and we’ll see if MY kids will eat pink stuff (I’m leaning toward “no”)


Julie July 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm

OK, damnit. I’ve actually put beet greens in a Ziploc in the fridge to hold until I could get to them…because I WANT to try them…I’m told sautee’d beet greens are delicious….and i keep NOT getting to it. You’re the fourth person now singing their praises…..And gads your lunch sounds divine…
I so suck.
But stay tuned….


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