Gen’s Famous Beet Risotto

I love to cook.  My favorite thing to do is take ingredients that I’ve either never used or don’t particularly enjoy and try to turn them into something I want to eat all the time.  Enter: Beet Risotto.  Once upon a time my husband and I found ourselves the surprised owners of some very large beets.  I’ve had raw beets, and while I didn’t spit them out or anything, it wasn’t something I wanted to eat again.  So I decided to try to make them palatable and thought, “there really isn’t anything on earth that isn’t better with risotto.”  So, off I went.  We ate beet risotto for 3 nights and then we made it again the following week.  Now, whenever we see beets, we get a little excited.  This is perhaps my most requested recipe, whether that’s because people genuinely want to try yummy beets or because they’re intrigued by a big bowl of pink mush, I’ll never know.  So, I present to you, my beet risotto.  Yes, that picture looks sketchy.   I like to eat my damn risotto before I can remember to take pictures of it so it’s the best I’ve got.  But it’s damn delicious.

Caveat: I’ve probably seen far too much Iron Chef/Top Chef/Chopped and fancy myself a bit of an experimentalist in the kitchen. Hence, as of about two years ago, I never use recipes (or if I do, I modify the hell out of them).  The quantities here for everything except the risotto itself are estimates but pretty close to accurate.  The trick with risotto is to make sure the rice plumps and absorbs the liquid, sometimes this has required more stock, sometimes less.  The addition of more stock might require more wine or cream, you decide according to taste.  But even if you follow as is, it will be delicious.


What you need:

475g arborio rice (aka risotto rice)

Beets! However much you have.  I typically use 3-5, though last time they were very small so I used 7.

3 onions (red, vidalia, whatever. See how flexible this recipe is?!)

Garlic.  Whatever your comfortable with but I’m a garlic fiend so I used a whole bulb.

3-4 cups stock

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 cups wine (white, red, doesn’t matter), divided

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup freshly shredded parmigiano

salt, pepper

dill, rosemary, or thyme (optional)



1. Prepare your beets.  Either peel, rough chop, and cook in oil in a saute pan until soft or roast in oven set to 400, unpeeled and wrapped in aluminum foil for ~1 hr and peel and chop when cooled.

2. Put chopped beets, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of wine in food processor and blend until reasonably smooth.  There should be no noticeable chunks.  Add more lemon or wine if more liquid is needed. Set aside.

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family having dinner together

3. Saute onion and garlic until starting to soften.  This doesn’t need to be perfect because they still have a long time to sit on the burner.

4. Add the dry arborio rice and stir into the garlic/onion mixture.

5. Add 1 cup wine and stir for 2 minutes

6. Add stock about 1/4 cup at a time to the rice mixture.  After each pour, stir and combine the rice until the liquid is absorbed.  I always think to myself that the rice looks “thirsty,” and then it’s time to add another 1/4 cup.  Continue with all 3 cups of stock, which should take about 15-20 minutes.  The stock takes longer to absorb as the rice plumps nearer to the end of the cooking time.  If the rice still looks thirsty, you might need a little more stock or wine.  Usually, 3 cups is perfect for me though I have once needed 4 and once needed only about 1/2 cup more liquid so I used wine instead.

7. Add in the beet mixture from the food processor, the butter, and the heavy cream.  Stir.

8.  Season with salt and pepper and whatever else you feel like.  Rosemary and thyme make excellent additions, though I personally prefer dill.  It’s more commonly used with fish but tastes amazing with beets.  I would guess I use 1 1/2 tablespoons or so (you’ll have noticed by now that this makes a lot of risotto)

9.  Add in the parmigiano and stir thoroughly.  Taste test!  If you had particularly beet-y beets (scientific, I know…) you might need more cream or butter.  If you were shy with your seasoning, you will likely need more.  Test and find out, it’s the best part.


This recipe makes a good amount of risotto.  We’ve discovered in my house that this is usually 4 main meals or 8 side dish servings but if you abide by more standard serving sizes, you might even get 6 main courses out of this.  If you can stop eating, it that is.


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