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Golden Beet and Blue Cheese Risotto

When root vegetables start to pile high at the farmers’ market, seek out golden or pink beets. Exceptionally sweet, they won’t stain as much as their dark garnet cousins, which helps to preserve the pretty color of this risotto. Blue cheese complements the earthiness of the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. (375 g) golden and/or pink beets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 cups (40 fl. oz./1.25 l) vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./330 g) Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) crumbled blue cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

Put the beets in a baking dish with water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork, 40 to 60 minutes. Uncover and let cool. Cut off the beet tops and root ends. Peel the beets and cut into bite-size pieces. Season with salt.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir until translucent and coated with butter, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed. Add a ladleful of the broth and simmer vigorously, stirring often, until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add another ladleful of broth and continue simmering, stirring and adding more broth until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes.

Stir in the beets and heat through, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and the cheeses. Let stand for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012).