Dec 17, 2011
Hillary

Beetroot Risotto

Beetroot Risotto

My goodness it’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted! My apologies! To say this was a busy semester of school and work is obviously an understatement since I only managed to blog a few times. But I now have a file full of food and some of it I know what it is and where I got the recipe from and some of them look delicious but I have no idea where the meal came from! I’ll try not to post any mystery food!

I decided that for the first post back I would do something that was both festive looking and also something that I knew exactly what and where it came from! As you can see, the color of this dish adequately fulfills the holiday looking criteria! The reddish/pink color is all thanks to beets. Growing up, I wasn’t the biggest fan despite my Mom’s continual effort. However, beets became one of those vegetables that I “grew into”; like squash. I now love a beet salad with a light vinaigrette and oranges, a potato and beet gratin, or even this beetroot risotto. Not only does this dish taste delicious but how much fun is the color. Those that know me, know that I was the kid who would mix and match as many colors in my outfit as possible. Now that I am cooking, the same goes for my plate of food! The more color, the more inviting and we all know we first eat with our eyes!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:

(Adapted from Scandi Foodie. Serves 2 dinner servings or 4 side dishes.)

  • 2 beets
  • 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3/4 cups chicken stock, warmed (or vegetable stock, if preferred)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

This isn’t your typical risotto because it uses pearl barley but I actually think it makes it easier to make. So those that tend to skip right over any recipe that mentions “risotto”, no need to worry with this one!

To start, cut the stems off of the beets and just put the beetroots in a small pot and cover them with water.

Bring the water to a boil and let this simmer for about 30-40 minutes. It’s like cooking potatoes for mashed potatoes, except this takes a little longer. You want to soften the beets so you can mash them and add them to the cooked risotto.

Once the beets are simmering away, start warming up the chicken broth. There’s no need to bring it to a boil, you just need it warm.

In a separate pot, add a little bit of olive oil and let this warm up for just a minute or so. Add the risotto, chopped rosemary and minced garlic. Sauté this mixture for a few minutes.

Once the barley gets a tad bit toasted add the warmed chicken stock. In a traditional risotto, you add a little bit of broth at a time and you continually stir everything. You don’t have to do that with this recipe. Just pour it all in and bring to a boil. If you find that once the stock is absorbed your barley is still a little crunchy, just add a little bit more stock and give it a few more minutes.

Once the beets are soft and you can easily get a knife or fork through them, drain the water and start mashing! I just used a hand masher that I use on my potatoes and it worked great.

With the barley cooked and your beets mashed, add the beets to the risotto and give a good stir. In a matter of seconds, your barley will go from boring beige to bright red/pink! Drizzle some olive oil into the mixture, along with some salt and pepper, and just let things sit for a few minutes to bring all the flavors together.

I decided to leave the beetroot risotto as the star of the dinner plate and just put together a spinach salad with toasted pecans, cherry tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette and some fresh bread. But, if you would rather, I think this would pair well as a side dish for a roasted chicken or fish meal. It’s something different and I promise the beetroot taste is not overwhelming despite how bright the color is! It’s a dish that is completely doable during the weeknights but also something fancy enough for a get together with friends or a festive occasion! For now, that’s beetroot risotto…in the shell of a nut!

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