The Campbell Farmer’s Market (downtown Campbell, CA, 9 am to 2 pm, on Sundays) is one of the better ones in the SF Bay Area. I usually go every week and there’s always a great selection.
The mission today was scouting ingredients for a risotto and a non-lettuce salad. Tiny golden butterball potatoes, French green beans (haricots verts), and green garlic were the defacto choice for the salad. I have done many variations of that…just steam the veg, chop the garlic, dress with a simple vinaigrette…but this one vendor had some really nice looking beets.
So nice in fact that I bought the three largest garnet-red ones she had. For $2, they were a real bargain given their size.
So it was beet risotto time. I had never made this before but always heard/seen the amazing transformation of a rich beige-white risotto into a brilliant ruby-red with the addition of some well roasted beets.
You can see from the pictures above, the before and after. As you stir, the colour just gets more intense – pretty amazing. The recipe was pretty straight forward: roast the beets, (dice some, mash a bit of them, save the rest for a salad), make a standard risotto (arborio rice, stock, shallots, some kind of cheese), add the beets, garnish, and voila, dinner.
Researching some online recipes, I found that many of them also used the green beet tops but I chose to omit them this time around. A few of the recipes opted for some other aromatics: I settled on a bit of chopped ginger and a small pinch of chopped fresh rosemary. I added a small handful of white cheddar cheese to the mix. The goat cheese coin and toasted walnuts were co-opted from another recipe online. (See that recipehere.)
The sweetness of the beets went nicely with the ginger but I think the rosemary was a bit over the top. I’d probably not add that next time. Saving the small dice beets until just before plating worked well and added a texture variation in the finished dish.