While Italian farmers were busy developing their dishes with rice, creating the culture we know today as risotto, one of their intentions was finding use for their leftovers. They were simply looking to come to terms economically, but with the usual desire and talent for good taste. I sincerely doubt they had any concrete thoughts pertaining health and this dish. However, being that risotto is a system of reduction, vitamins and nutrients are conserved in the dish, instead of going into the excess of water which at the end gets thrown away. When we add beetroots to this, it is comparable to a body being injected with a good portion of health, most beneficial for the circulatory system and blood quality. If a stronger injection is needed, simply make a juice out of the beetroot. It is in the end a much faster undertaking, than making a risotto.
For this Beet Root Risotto I used the following:
- 300 g arborio rice
- four beetroots – midsized, coarsely grated (it is also possible to vary between 2 and 5 tubers
- three onions – chopped
- 1,5 l stock (vegetable or lamb)
- 200 ml white wine
- 7 -10 sage leaves – finely chopped
- two Tbsp bitter chocolate
- three Tbsp coffee (fluid)
- two Tbsp Guinness sauce
- 100 g butter
- 120 g parmesan cheese
- five cloves (ground)
To begin with, prepare the stock and the coffee. The butter – 60g - must be heated before starting roasting the onions, cloves and sage, until the onions are lightly crystalized but do NOT turn brown. Add the rice and as soon as it is also lightly roasted – not brown – pour the white wine and let it be absorbed while stirring. Reduce the heat, but the boiling must continue. After the wine has been absorbed, add the beetroot, stir a couple of minutes and begin adding singular ladles of stock at a time. Continue stirring. Each time the stock is absorbed, add another ladle and keep stirring. When half of the stock has been used, add coffee, chocolate and Guinness sauce, adding another ladle of stock. After adding yet another ladle, proceed with 70g parmesan cheese and continue to stir.
When the rice is cooked ‘al dente’ and the consistency is creamy, the risotto is ready. Add the rest of the butter, cover the rice and let it rest for some 10 minutes. Once served, top with individual portions of parmesan. I also love topping it with some drops of olive oil.
One alternative would be the Lamb Risotto.