- 3 to 4 beets, whatever your store sells bunched together
- olive oil
- 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, can be a mix of 4 cups broth to 2 cups water
- 1 medium onion, diced
- about 1/2 cup red wine, I use Pinot Noir, nothing very tannin-heavy.
- 1 cup arborio rice(sometimes sold as risotto rice)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 2 Tbsp butter
2 large sauce pans and baking sheet are needed as well.
Risotto is like being in a demanding relationship. It needs your attention, stirring it, whispering sweet nothings, slowly adding broth ladle by ladle. Where your significant other may take such attention for granted, with the the proper care, risotto is a creamy and rich meal, satisfying on its own and can be made with any ingredients that pop into your mind.
I'm using roasted beets for a twist. Beets are sadly underestimated. In this case, roasting them brings out the sweet flavor and turns the rice a stunning magenta.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400. Trim the greens of the beets, slicing off the bottom as well. Do no peel the beets, simply quarter them and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, cook for about 20 minutes in the 400 degree oven, until slightly tender.
2. While the beets are cooking, mince the onion, and start heating the chicken broth in one of the saucepans. Once the broth has come to a simmer, the temp can be turned down.
3. Once beets are done cooking, let them cool until they are ready to be handled. Now that the skins are loose, they are much easier to peel. A paring knife will do the job. After peeled, slice the beets into small chunks, no bigger than 1/4".
4. Heat the second sauce pan with enough olive oil to coat the bottom, and sauté onions until they are translucent and soft, just a couple of minutes.
5. Add the rice to the onions, stirring the rice so it is coated with the oil and onions.
6. Add about a 1/2 cup of red wine (I never measure this). Stir until absorbed.
7. Now we start adding the chicken broth. It goes in one ladle at a time, adding only after the liquid has been absorbed. A good way to know if it's ready for more liquid is that you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir while scrapping the bottom.
8. I'm making this a separate step because it is very important. You may not use all the broth. Actually, you will most likely not use it all. The broth is added until the rice is done, and the only way you can do this is by taste. This also lets you monitor the salt content in the final few ladles. If you think the broth has made it too salty, add a ladle's worth of warm water.
9. Start tasting when the rice has plumped and starts to look ready. It is not rice pudding, there needs to be a bit of texture to the rice. It's a bit like cooking pasta al dente.
10. Once the rice is done, this generally takes a good half hour, take it off the heat and add the 2 Tbsp of butter and 1/2 of Parmesan cheese.
Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.