Oh, mon amour! Risotto aux betteraves rouges

Ah, ’tis nearly Valentine’s day! Blink, and you might miss it. Seem like only yesterday that all the Christmas decorations were up(*) but the local stores are already awash with chocolate Easter eggs. I am constantly amused how you can check the time of the year by the range of sweets and goodies on offer at the till.

Now, I could have made some form of heart-shaped biscuits or chocolates, or a red cupcake, but that would be (1) predictable, and (2) against the spirit of blogging more savoury dishes. Not to miss out on the luuuurve that is in the air at this time of year, I’ve produced something that is perfect for a romantic dinner with that special someone, and also keeps the red theme going. Just be sure that the relevant special someone likes beetroot.

This really is just a simple risotto, but chopped beetroot goes in with the first ladle of stock to make sure the colour is a vibrant dark magenta, and a few tweaks at the end of the cooking process to play on the flavour and colour of the beetroot.

The key thing is to use fresh beetroot, rather than the stuff that comes preserved in vinegar. I feel that it’s almost too obvious to point out, but something that has been sitting in acid for weeks and weeks is not going to be your best friend in a risotto. I appreciate that I am not speaking from experience here, and by all means give it a bash if you think that it would work, but it strikes me as a flavour combination I could happily miss. And really – who serves their beloved a plate of vinegar? But…that being said…a slight sharpness does work with beetroot, so I actually add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar at the end, just to add the tiniest hint of sharpness. Just a touch though!

But let’s face it, the reason for making this is just the fantastic colour. It looks utterly stunning, and quite amazing to think this is completely natural. When I add the beetroot, I chop into a combination of larger and smaller pieces, so that you can still see the darker beetroot (which ends up looking like the dish is studded with garnets) next to the vibrant red rice. If you prefer, grate the beetroot – you’ll get more colour, but you’ll also have pink juice everywhere. Up to you…

To top this, I add a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (not too much, don’t hid the colour), plus some toasted pumpkin seeds and a little chopped chives. Their green colours contrast with the redness, and the flavours play well with the beetroot. However, toasted pine nuts and/or a light sprinkling of fresh dill would also work well.

(*) In fact, a certain house down our street seems to be stuck on 24 December, with the plastic tree still in the window…I’ve checked, and there are people alive in there, so not to worry.


To serve 4 (or 2, with lots left over):

• 25g butter
• 2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 250g arborio rice
• 1 glass dry white wine
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 litre vegetable stock
• 300g beetroot, boiled, peeled and finely chopped or grated
• 50g Parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons cream

Warm the butter and olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and fry gently over a low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the rice and fry for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the wine, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice seems “oily”. Tip in the beetroot and black pepper, and add the stock, one ladle at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add more when the previous addition has almost evaporated. The rice will start as light pink, but will change to a deep reddish-pink towards the end.

Once all the stock has been added, cook the risotto to the desired consistency (some like it runny, some like it thick). Add the Parmesan cheese, stir well, and remove from the heat. Stir in the cream and balsamic vinegar and allow to sit for two minutes with the pot covered.

Serve with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan and a scattering of toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, and a scattering of chopped chives or dill.

Worth making? I love risotto anyway, but this one looks stunning on the plate and has a fabulous flavour. The beetroot and dill make it a little more unusual, but I think this is a great combination.

12 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Savoury

12 responses to “Oh, mon amour! Risotto aux betteraves rouges

  1. hopeeternal

    I have had a ‘must try’ recipe for something very similar to this since last year – perhaps I ought to give it a go as it’s the second time I have seen a Beetroot Risotto recipe posted this week!
    hopeeternal
    ‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’
    http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com
    PS Thanks for adding me as a link.

    • Let me know how your recipe goes. If there are any tips or tweaks, I would love to know. My basic risotto has been a few years in the making, getting to just how prep and cook everything. The popularity of beetroot risotto has, in part, to be due to the colour. When it is so grey outside, it’s so nice to have a dish that is so vibrant.

  2. peasepudding

    This is the best valentines dish I have seen, perfect I will have to make it since I am bait risotto and beetroot fan. Might be tempted to add some goats cheese but that is a faze I am in at the mo.

    • Thanks for the complement! Goat’s cheese would probably be nice with this – possibly the creamier stuff crumbled on top just before serving. I love goat’s cheese too – my favourite way to eat it is on toasted bread, lightly grilled, and just a touch of honey. Mmmmm!

  3. And so this is why I love reading your blog. There is always something unique and interesting going on. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh I almost forgot, thanks for adding me as a link😉

  5. Suzy

    Great success! Thanks for this delicious recipe! I can’t stand all the Valentine’s hype but I always make a special dinner – this was perfect especially as I had just got fresh beetroot in my organic veggie box! Gorgeous colour…
    Friends had also bought us some pink macaroons for dessert – so it was a real London Eats dinner (with half the effort😉 )

    • Yes, it’s easy to get caught in the hype! But I think it’s quite fun to make a bit of a gesture – and with beetroot in season right now, I think you can easily claim this is a wry nod to Valentine’s Day without going overboad. Lucky you with friends that bring macarons! In London, that generally involves a trip down to the West End, but saying that, you can get some amazing flavours from Yauatcha, so worth the effort.

  6. bodart achille

    bonjour, ma recette
    ingrédients 3 litres de vinaigre de vin
    1 kg de sucre candi brun
    thym,du laurier,graine de poivre,clous de girofle
    betteraves rouges ,oignions
    cuire les betterave dans l’eau salé avec du thym et du laurier
    éplucher et couper en rondelles les betteraves refroidies nettoyer de gros
    oignons et les couper en rondelles,mettez en pot une couche de betterave
    ,et une couche d’oignons et terminer part une branche de thym et 2 feuilles
    de laurier,des graines de poivre et quelques clous de girofle,
    chauffer 3 litres de vinaigre de vin avec 1 kg de sucre candi brun et verser sur les betteraves ,refermer les pots directement ,bon appétit recette d’achille bodart beachbeg@hotmail.com

  7. bodart achille

    j’aime beaucoup les betterave rouge

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