Beet Risotto

“The Venetians have a word for the ideal consistency of risotto: alla onda, which means ‘like a wave.’   You should be able to pour the risotto onto the plate, where it will set slightly.”

Fresh beets, 6 medium with greenery (about 1 3⁄4 lb.)

Extra virgin olive oil, 5 Tbsp., divided

Fresh rosemary, 2 Tbsp. chopped, divided

Orange zest, 2 tsp., divided

Kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp., divided

Freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp.

Chicken broth, 3 2/3 cups

Beet juice, 2 1/3 cups

Onion, 1 cup finely chopped

Arborio rice, 2 1/4 cups

Dry white wine, 1 cup

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1/2 cup freshly grated

Unsalted butter, 6 Tbsp.

Blue cheese, 1 cup crumbled

Garnish: fresh rosemary sprig

Beet Risotto with Blue Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Cut tops off beets, leaving 1 inch greenery on each.  Scrub beets under cold running water; pat dry. Cut each beet, lengthwise, into 3 wedges, leaving a portion of greenery on each wedge. Place beets in a large bowl; drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. rosemary, 1 tsp. orange zest, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Line a large jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil; lightly grease foil. Place beets in a single layer on prepared pan. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until beets are tender, turning once.
  2. Heat chicken broth and beet juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat until warm; keep warm.
  3. Sauté onion in remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat 7 minutes or until tender. Add rice, stirring to coat. Cook rice, stirring often, 3 minutes (do not brown). Stir in wine. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until wine is absorbed.
  4. Add 2 cups warm broth mixture, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed.  Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, until liquid is absorbed. (Total cooking time is about 28 minutes.) Remove pan from heat.
  5. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. rosemary, remaining 1 tsp. orange zest, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and butter, stirring until cheese and butter melt. Cover and let stand 3 minutes.
  6. Pour risotto onto serving plates. Place 3 beet wedges on each serving, and sprinkle evenly with blue cheese. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately. 6 servings

Drink: California Petit Verdot