Risotto and Beets Happily Married Together — Risotto et betteraves pour mariage réussi

Red Beet Risotto

“It really makes you pee red, you know”, I told P.

“What is this joke?”, he said.

“Trust me, it really does! Beets do that to you!”

And I can tell! I eat beets often.

I know that it could well be that I am an exception. I do not think that I know another vegetable that creates as much controversy as a simple innocent betterave. Many people whom I know, have met, or talked to speak about beetroot in negative terms, mentioning a real aversion to them, as a vegetable that they hate more than any other one. I have to really wonder why. Too red? Too earthy? Too what? I am the total opposite. It may well be that we are born with or without the beet gene in us. In fact, I was pretty much raised on them since my mum used to grow — and still does — her own. I love red beets, and the yellow ones just as much. When I was a kid, my mum and I used to spend many hours during the season preserving beets in a light vinegar. They were then stored in tall sterilized bocaux (glass jars), making a treat we looked forward to having during the winter. Beets were common. We loved to grate them uncooked in salads, in the same way we prepare carrot or celery root salads, and we also cooked them. Pickled beets were a favorite as well. In some countries like Russia or many other Eastern European countries, beets are actually as common as maybe, say potatoes in Ireland. If you have already visited Pille’s blog, you will see what I mean. She and I share the same love for beets.

When I went shopping last week, I stocked up on beets, as is often the case. Yellow, red. I was not sure what I was going to do with them then, but I never need to know. Instinctively, I always find a good fun way to use them and so the idea of making a beet risotto grew on me naturally. There is nothing complicated in making it. This risotto is rather on the sweeter side, flavored with tarragon and basil, complemented with ground hazelnut and contrasted with flavorful parmesan. And red, of course! A pretty deep shade of red surely noticed on your plate. I just love this color! Something quite different I have to say, enough to really make you pee red.

Red Beet Risotto

(For 4 people)

You need:

  • 1.5 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 8 3/4 oz red cooked beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 large shallot (150 g) + 1 extra shallot
  • Zest of 1 organic orange
  • 1 oz hazelnut powder
  • 1.5 oz parmesan grated and shaved
  • 9 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp tarragon, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • About 3 Tbsp pine nuts, dry-roasted
  • Salt and pepper


  • Cook the beets, peel and dice them.
  • Chop the first shallot.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil with 1 Tbsp butter in a sauté pan. Add the shallot and cook for a few min before adding the diced beets. Cook for 5 mns or so on medium to low heat, add the orange zest and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and reduce into a purée, using a food processor if you have one. Keep on the side.
  • Heat the chicken stock and keep warm.
  • Chop the tarragon and basil.
  • Grate 2/3 of the parmesan. Shave the rest and keep on the side.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil with 1 Tbsp butter in a pot and add the second chopped shallot. Cook for 2 to 3 min before adding the rice to coat for 1 min.
  • Then add the white wine and cook until it is absorbed.
  • Add 1 ladleful of warm broth and wait until it is absorbed to add another one. Repeat until you have 1 ladleful left.
  • Add the beet purée with the hazelnut flour, and mix gently. Check your rice and add more broth accordingly.
  • Stop the heat, add the grated parmesan, the herbs and the rest of the butter. Cover and let rest for 2 min.
  • Serve with shaved parmesan, fresh basil leaves and dry-roasted pine nuts.

Le coin français

Risotto aux betteraves rouges

(Pour 4 personnes)

Ingrédients :

  • 300 g de riz rond à risotto Carnaroli ou Arborio
  • 950 ml de bouillon de volaille
  • 250 g de betteraves rouges, cuites, pelées et coupées en morceaux
  • 1 grosse échalote (150 g) + 1 deuxième moyenne
  • Zeste d’1 orange bio
  • 30 g de poudre de noisettes
  • 40 g de parmesan, râpé finement et en copeaux
  • 9 càs de vin blanc sec
  • 1 càs d’estragon, haché
  • 1 càs de basilic, haché
  • 2 càs d’huile d’olive
  • 45 g de beurre
  • Environ 3 càs de pignons de pin, grillés à sec
  • Sel et poivre

Étapes :

  • Cuisez les betteraves, puis pelez-les et coupez-les en gros morceaux.
  • Émincez la grosse échalote.
  • Faites chaufffer 1 càs d’huile d’olive et 15 g de beurre dans une sauteuse et ajoutez-y l’échalote. Faites suer pendant quelques min avant d’ajouter les morceaux de betterave. Poursuivez la cuisson pendant 5 mns, sur feu moyen à doux, puis ajoutez le zeste d’orange finement râpé. Assaisonnez de sel et de poivre. Retirez du feu et réduisez en purée dans un robot. Mettez de côté.
  • Faites chauffer le bouillon de volaille et gardez au chaud.
  • Hachez l’estragon et le basilic.
  • Rapez 2/3 du parmesan. Faites des copeaux avec le reste (utilisez un couteau économe par exemple). Mettez de côté.
  • Faites chauffer 1 càs d’huile d’olive avec 15 g de beurre dans une cocotte à fond épais et ajoutez la deuxieme échalote hachée. Faites suer pendant environ 2 à 3 mns avant d’ajouter le riz. Enrobez-le pendant 1 mn.
  • Ajoutez le vin blanc et cuisez jusqu’à absorption, en mélangeant constamment avec une cuiller en bois.
  • Ajoutez une louche de bouillon chaud et faites cuire sur feu moyen jusqu’à absorption. Attendez que tout le liquide soit absorbé avant d’ajouter une autre louche. Répètez jusqu’à ce qu’il ne vous reste qu’1 louche de bouillon.
  • Ajoutez alors la purée de betteraves, la poudre de noisette et mélangez delicatement. Vérifiez la cuisson du riz et ajoutez du bouillon en fonction.
  • Juste avant de servir, arrêtez le feu. Ajoutez le parmesan, les herbes et le reste de beurre. Mélangez délicatement et couvrez pendant 2 mns.
  • Servez avec des copeaux de parmesan, du basilic frais et des pignons de pin grillés à sec.

Posted in Gluten Free, Grains, Vegetarian


  1. I have been seriously craving beets, to which no one understands. This recipe looks PERFECT. I might try it with a little goat cheese as that has been critical with my current beet obsession.

  2. I just love beets, and I would have never thought of making a risotto out of them, ever! That colour, wow! Gorgeous!

  3. Well, if I want a divorce this is pretty much the dish that would cause it….B.hates/loathes beets and I adore them. I remember my mom making beets with vinaigrette a couple of times a week.
    Beautiful recipe. Really original.

  4. Hum j’adore les betteraves mais seulement crues. Et mes filles en mangent aussi avec ravissement. Crues, rapées avec un peu de vinaigre balsamique, et de la bonne huile, des ciboules… un délice.

    Pour le risotto, je vais essayer, car j’ai toujours des betteraves (rouge seulement chez moi) d’avance.

  5. you know, i too adore beets. it took moi to convince j of their intrisic value. [never juice them alone though- wreaks havoc on the nervous system! too much iron] asparagus is the other
    “pee” controvrsial vegetable! beet risotto is good indeed! pretty pic, nice plate/bowl-

  6. J’aime beaucoup le risotto à la betterave, je te conseille aussi d’essayer avec sur le dessus un morceau de fromage de chèvre et du thym, c’est très terrien…

  7. Your risotto looks absolutely stunning, Bea – such an intense colour! I love the addition of ground hazelnuts – I imagine it gives an interesting flavour. Thanks for mentioning me:)
    PS Never noticed the effect on the colour of the pee though:) Maybe I don’t eat enough beets after all??

  8. voici encore une bien riche idée, et je vois bien l’image suivante: servir ceci et laisser aux dégustateurs trouver ce qu’il y a dedans… 😉

  9. Yes, it really does!
    Red really makes that risotto standout! Even shocking to the eye but the recipes sounds like it has all the right flavors to be so very good. Beautiful.

  10. The dynamic color of this veg represents your strong love to it! Really very appealing photos! I don’t eat beet very often (as no family cooked it), but now very interested in making in pickles after reading your post 😀

  11. The first time I made beet risotto, the color just knocked my socks off. And yet it was not as vibrant as the color in your photo!

  12. What a stunning color! And I love that plate. So I see this plated on three different dishes. Who does the cleaning?!

  13. bea, if you love beets you have to read jitterbug perfume, if you haven’t already. it opens with “The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.”

  14. the styling and photography is so lovely and completely compelling! I adore beets too, sometimes I just crave their red goodness out of the blue.

  15. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- pink is pretty, but only in your food! And your food is very pretty in pink!

  16. What an intense colour Bea! My attempts have not been near as vibrant, yet they still made us pee red! Hehe

  17. I think so many people hate them because, like me, I was raised on the ones froma can. It wasn’t until I had fresh beets that I understood what the fuss was about.

  18. i don’t think we had beets much growing up, so i think i’ll have to give this recipe a try, just so i can be fair about it… and come to my own conclusions regarding this bright little root

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  20. Béa, I love beetroots too.Back in Brasil I grew up drinking beets juice with orange – actually a favorite combination is beets, carrots and orange juice.lovely colour and taste. My mum always used to make beets soup, and she used to having it grated in saladas. Simply delicious. I am in love with your risotto and having received some beets in my oganic box this week I will give it a go tonight.

  21. I just bought some beets to make risotto from a recipe I saw in a magazine. I’ll be combing that recipe and yours. Thanks for the good timing! I hope mine turns out as wonderfully red as yours.

  22. Jeff yes indeed, dangerous 😉

    Bergeou, merci bien.

    Dea, your additions are excellent ideas!

    Cris, thank you.

    LyB, thanks a lot.

    Helen, ahah, this is true. Quite funny indeed.

    Miss Diane, oui malheureusement oublié trop souvent.

    Rose, thank you. Glad you like it.

    Texmex, je crois que je les préfère encore crues, tu vois.

    Yoyo, thank you.

    Sophie, merci bien.

    Kim, oh really, asparagus too? I am curious now…..you need to tell me more.

    Kitchenette, c’est une excellente idée. J’aime beaucoup tes ajouts.

    Ptinfrance, I wish you could. I do too, quite often.

    Pille, thank you! I always get inspired to check what you do with beets as, you and I love them.

    Alhya, mais oui!

    Tanna, thank you.

    Gattina, this is a good way to say it indeed Gattina. I guess I really love it so yes, the color speaks for itself.

    Lydia, I would be curious to know more about your recipe. Is it on your blog?

    Mimosa, merci.

    Pete, ah yes I am the one doing this chore I am afraid. Thank god for dishwashers though.

    Abby, thanks so much for the recommendation. I love to receive book recommendations as too often, I feel overwhelmed by the abundance of them.

    Nika, thanks a lot. I am glad you like it. I am like you. Sometimes I crave them, out of the blue too. Quite often actually.

    Hélène, merci. La vaisselle en effet est bien rigolote.

    Brilynn, thanks a lot. 😉

    Bron, yeah, I am glad I am not the only one! It took some convincing for P. to believe me when I told him it made us pee red.

    Peabody, oh very good point you know. I would not have thought about this.

    Connie, I hope they will convince you!. A great vegetable!

    Valentina, oh nice. I think drinking beet juice with carrot and orange is an excellent idea. And hope you enjoy the risotto!

    Erielle, nice! I hope you like it.

    Thanks a lot for your visit al, once more.

  23. I adore beets. I adore fabulous photography. I adore sensational food. Add it up, and your blog is absolument formidable!!

  24. moi qui adore la betterave et le risotto il faudra que je fasse cette recette…
    j’adore tes droles d’assiettes pratiques pour les periodes regimes….

  25. Stunning color! I am neither one way or the other towards beets. I think I should experiment more to see where I stand 😉

  26. I have only one question: *where* did you get that divine set of plates?!?!?

    I have never been a huge beetroot fan until I discovered that you could roast them in olve oil with some butternut and bring out a lovely sweet flavour. It also makes the texture better for me. This looks astonishing – thanks for the recipe!

  27. I love the addition of the hazelnut powder, what a phenomenal idea! I make a very similar beet risotto but next time I’ll add your flourish! I also love to use golden beets to mix things up a little…depending on the colour palette I’m working with. I’m addicted to roasting the beets first. Your instructions say “cook” which implies stovetop to me. What was your method? Lovely styling, as always!

  28. Toni, thank you very much. Really appreciated.

    Veronica, oui oui des assiettes demi-portions 😉

    Sylvie, merci.

    Joey, oh yes, you should definitely lift this ambiguity and know where you stand. I hope you will fall for beets!

    Gracianne, tu n’aimes pas les betteraves ? 😉

    Jeanne, ie the plates, I have to remember. A site online, I will dig out the info. Glad you like beets!

    Stephanie, thanks for asking about the way I cooked the beets, as true, I was not clear. I did not roast them but boiled them. BUt, since you mention it, roasting them is an excellent idea too. I often do it, but not always!

  29. Oh, I adore beets! For many years I could not stand them, probably because my mother made me eat them from a can on top of cottage cheese… very bland. But now that I’ve grown up, j’adore!

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. Risotto is a staple in my kitchen, and what a creative way to execute the use of two wonderful dishes together. A beautiful touch for valentines day, too 🙂

  30. Bea, I love this post and I love beetroot 🙂 I knew it’d make your pee red but I was too embarrassed to say that to anyone! Thanks for the lovely recipe.

  31. :::::::::B O N N E F E T E B E A T R I C E::::::::
    J’avais beaucoup apprécié le texte sur les Fêtes car cela m’a rappellé de bons souvenirs d’enfances. Alors je ne pouvais pas oublier aujourd’hui. Je devrais d’ailleurs recevoir un appel de ma maman qui jamais n’a manqué de me souhaiter ma fête.
    Très fan de rizotto mais beaucoup moins de la betterave – réminiscences de fades salades de betteraves servies à la cantine – ta recette me tente pourtant. A essayer!

  32. I made this recipe last night, and it was incredibly delightful! One thing I changed was the use of Chicken Stock. Instead I boiled the beets, removed them from the water, and then added a few vegetable bullion cubes to the beet water. This, then, is what I used as the liquid. Simply incredibly delightful!

    It was served with a 4 oz. seared grass-fed free-range ribeye steak and an arugula, watercress and parmesan salad with a lemon dijon dressing. Your recipe drove my menu. It was the point from which I started to think about the rest of the food. Thanks for such wonderful ideas, Bea 🙂

  33. Keiko, I am deligted to hear you like it! I said it for you, so you do not need to be embarrassed anymore!

    BA, bonne fete a toi aussi! 😉 Merci de ton gentil mot.

    Julie, I am so happy to hear. This is the type of message that touches me right in my heart! So thank you.

  34. J’ai deux ou trois betteraves crues dans mon frigo et je ne sais toujours pas quoi faire avec..Il faut dire que j’achète en suivant mes impulsions et aprés…aprés je me retrouve dans l’embarras comme maintenant! Mais bon un risotto à la betterave, pourquoi pas? D’autant que cela fait un moment que je voulais faire du risotto!

  35. Just found your blog today. It is a nice blog with beautiful photos. Just wondering where did you get that interesting “split in 2” plate?

  36. Bea, I just made your risotto and absolutely love it! I added not only the orange zest but also the orange flesh itself. Delicious! Thank you for inventing – and sharing! – this recipe!
    And, btw, your blog looks wonderful! 🙂
    Have a nice sunday!

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