Italian Recipes Seasons Winter

Golden Beetroot Risotto


Now is the time to buy beets; February is the height of their season so they’ll be available in abundance and at a cheap price. When choosing your beetroot make sure to let your not-as-yet stained fingers grasp vegetables no larger than around 6cm in diameter. Anything above this size could hide a slightly woody, unpleasant core. There are a number of ways to prepare your perfectly-sized raw beetroot; roasting and boiling being the most common. The latter is my preferred method, since the skin is exceptionally easy to remove after 20-30 minutes in an unbearably hot, wet environment. Indeed, once cooked all that is required to release the rich flesh of a beet from the shackles of its rather unpalatable outer shell is a small amount of kitchen roll or a damp cloth.

If you’re a proponent of the use of the powerful, dark and more earthy flavour of the average beetroot, feel free to indulge your inner most root-based desires; every inch of the recipe remains the same. As the recipe below states, the inclusion of wine is optional, though it does have the pleasing effect of deepening the flavour of risotto – this is particularly important when using vegetable stock. However, if you’re looking for a slightly lighter, sweeter risotto recipe you could try my recipe for butternut squash and sage risotto.

Golden Beet Risotto {recipe}

Serves 4-6


• 400g arborio rice

• 3 medium golden beets

• 1 small leek, finely sliced

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock

• 100ml dry white wine (optional)

• 40g salted butter

• A handful of grated parmesan

• Salt and pepper

• Olive oil


1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, adding a pinch of salt and sugar before popping in the beets. Boil for 20-30 minutes, until soft through. Remove the tops, brush the skin off with a cloth, chop into small chunks and purée in a food processor.

2. Meanwhile, fry the leek and garlic in a generous slug of olive oil. Once translucent add the rice and incorporate completely. If using wine, pour it in and cook until absorbed. Start adding the stock, little by little, until it has all been absorbed – this should take around 30 minutes.

3. When the rice is nearly cooked through stir in the beetroot purée and add the butter and parmesan. Remove it from the heat and put the lid on, set aside for 2-3 minutes – this is essential. Season to taste and stir once more before serving immediately – it will wait for no man (or woman).

Cost: Beets are an extremely common root vegetable, this makes them exceedingly frugal – three beets, enough to serve six, should set one back no more than 50p or so. As a result, this supremely flavourful risotto should set one back no more than about £3.20. A delectable price, I’m sure you’ll agree.

55 replies on “Golden Beetroot Risotto”

Here in outer Antipodia, we likes our beets sweet. Steve, the bearded expat, doesn’t. Thus, when we grew our own beets, the very first thing that he did was pickle some “Old school” style with just spiced vinegar and no sugar (GASP!)…the results made him smile (and me twitch so he gets them all to himself 😉 ). I love the flavour of beets, but then I love the flavour of buckwheat, bitter greens, broad beans and brussels sprouts so I am just a freak. We can grow beetroot all year round here in Northern Tasmania so I am going to plant out some golden beetroot and some bullseye (just for the pretties) this time. I just use my hands to remove the beetroot skin as the colour wears off very quickly and I don’t have to deal with shocked members of the general public on a regular basis (read “hermit” 😉 ) so could care less that my fingers look like beacons to a recent murder.
I just found a most interesting use for beets. Red, gold or any kind makes amazing fermented juice (Kvass) Russian style and you can then use that juice to colour pickled eggs! Nothing like alarming pink pickled eggs with a golden centre. I am thinking of starting a fish and chip shop business just to alarm the customers with my red eyeball pickled eggs! (Good advertising gimmick 😉 ). As usual this recipe is a comfort food triumph. You certainly know your good tucker sir! Cheers for Steve’s dinner tonight 🙂

What a beautiful and cheerful dish Frugal! I do love Golden beets and adding them to risotto looks and sounds delicious. A local deli and market here prepares the most deliciuos golden beet and ginger udon noodles. I much prefer the golden beet. So nice to see the underused veggie in such a delicious dish. As always… fabulous 🙂

We don’t have golden beets here in New Zealand as far as I know. I did a double take on your risotto and wondered why it wasn’t purple. Lovely colour. I think it’s been too long since I made risotto.

Strangely enough, yellow beets are in season in Australia right now, too – I bought some at the market yesterday (and usually pick mine in about January, when I grow my own).

I’ll definitely give this a try!

I used to make a red beet risotto at a hotel I worked at. One of the chefs added the beets too soon and the whole thing turned pink. I told the waiter to tell the customer that we were running a special for supporting breast cancer research. 😀

I do like the hot pink risotto I get using regular beets, but this looks a bit more refined. :). I peel and grate the beets raw and add them with the first batch of liquid, which also is more rustic but less work. 🙂

I’m a fan of beet risotto – have been baking regular (=red) beet risotto for years, but I’m amazed that golden beetroot risotto would look as gorgeously yellow!!! Need to try this myself a.s.a.p (might even have some small yellow beets in the sandbox in the garage).

I’ve always been too lazy to make risotto, seems like the endless stirring would drive me batty. Maybe I need to try it. I’m sure the results are worth the effort. Especially when you pair it with those beets.

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