Monthly Archives: June 2008


Brilliantly Pink Risotto

(photo by wm. christman)

(photo by wm. christman)

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.

(photo by wm. christman)

(photo by wm. christman)

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.