It’s a good thing that beets are good for you, because I’m kind of obsessed with them. In fact, it was the number one item on the New York Times‘ “11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating” list. So, apparently, you should be obsessed with them, too! They are slightly sweet (in the same family as the sugar beet, which produces much of common table sugar), and have an amazing texture that holds up to roasting, but is creamy once in your mouth. I think the texture is why some people are turned off by beets, but for me, it’s the highlight.
According to Wikipedia, beetroot juice was considered an aphrodisiac in Roman times! The beet entry says, “The juice is a rich source of boron, which plays an important role in the production of human sex hormones.” And seriously? You’re pretty sure to be a winner if you make your honey beet risotto. A glass of red wine or two later, and I am sure this root will live up to its Roman ancestry.
1 large beet, peeled and diced into 1/2″ squares
3-4 sage sprigs
1/4 tsp. dried ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
12 oz. turkey (or other) stock
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large shallots, minced
1 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. red wine
1 c. parmesan cheese, finely grated
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Place the diced beets on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and sage. Roast for about 45 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the stock over low-medium heat and simmer.
In another pot (medium-sized), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes, add garlic for another minute, then salt and pepper. Add the arborio rice and saute until the kernels turn to a more opaque white. Deglaze the pot with the red wine and reduce for about 2 minutes.
Add a ladle-full of the warm stock and stir into the rice until absorbed. Continue to add the stock, ladle-full by ladle-full, until the rice is plump and cooked through. This process is a slow one, and the rice needs to be watched and stirred often. The whole thing takes approx. 30 minutes.
When the rice is cooked to al dente (soft, but not completely; still holding a bit of firmness), then turn off the heat. Add the grated cheese, the roasted beets, and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. A sage leaf makes a nice garnish.