As winter drags on you may be getting tired of using the same old vegetables over and over again. I definitely tend to get into a cooking rut towards the end of a season.
Right now I’m eagerly looking forward to the new inspiration that comes with the spring harvest. But until then, I’ve been rescued by Diane Morgan’s cookbook Roots. Roots is packed full of inspiration for using winter’s most alluring and nutritious-packed produce that hides deep in the soil during our coldest months.
I was honored to have had the chance to meet Diane Morgan, who is a fellow Portland foodist. After trying several of her revitalizing recipes, I fell hard for her Golden Beet Risotto and asked her if I could share the recipe. She said yes!
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making a risotto. With a little love you’ll be able to turn out this creamy satisfying dish with earthy sweet golden beets in just over a half hour.
Golden Beet Risotto with Crumbled Ricotta Salata and Sautéed Beet Greens
Serves 4 as a main course
- 2 medium golden beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-in/6-mm dice
- 6 cups/1.4 L homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 tbsp/55 g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2/3 cup/90 g diced white onion
- 11/2 cups/300 g Arborio rice
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 cup/240 ml dry white wine
- Sautéed Beet Greens
- 1/4 cup/30 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3 oz/85 g ricotta salata cheese, crumbled (see Cook’s Note)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
In a 2-qt/2-L saucepan, combine the beets and stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the beets until tender yet still quite firm when pierced with a fork, 15 minutes. (They should be slightly underdone, as they will finish cooking in the risotto.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a bowl. Set aside. Adjust the heat so the stock barely simmers.
In a heavy 4-qt/3.8-L saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of the butter and then add the oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and 1 tsp salt and stir until the grains are well coated with the butter and oil, about 1 minute. Add the wine and let it come to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until most of the wine is absorbed.
Add the beets and 2 cups/480 ml of the stock to the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice has almost completely absorbed the liquid. Adjust the heat so the risotto is kept at a slow simmer. Repeat, adding 1 cup/240 ml of the liquid at a time, stirring until it is almost fully absorbed before adding more. Reserve 1/4 cup/60 ml of the liquid for adding at the end.
Meanwhile, prepare the sautéed greens as directed here and keep warm.
After about 18 minutes, the rice will be plump, creamy, and cooked through, but still slightly chewy, and the beets will be tender when pierced with a fork. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup/60 ml stock. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tbsp butter, the Parmesan cheese, about half of the ricotta salata, and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the risotto into warmed shallow bowls. Mound a portion of the beet greens on top. Garnish each serving with the reserved ricotta salata and serve immediately.
Ricotta salata is a pure white, lightly salted, firm, rindless cheese that originated in Sicily but is now produced in other Italian regions and in other countries. Traditionally made from sheep’s milk and aged for a minimum of three months, it has a nutty, sweet milky flavor and is ideal for grating, slicing, or crumbling. Use it in salads, on pizzas, and especially in pasta and risotto dishes.
Elyse Kopecky is a social media and digital technology consultant based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS in Portland, Amsterdam and Geneva she briefly left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at freshabits.com and @freshabits.