Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beet Risotto

Three weeks ago my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) started, resulting in an explosion of vegetables in my life!

A CSA is like a farm subscription. “Members participate in their own food supply by committing to share in the harvest of a local grower. By joining a CSA, you express your support for locally grown, ecoganic food, and to the farmers who grow it.”

Way back in the winter when the growing season began, LOTR-Emily and I opted in and paid our money up front -- $15 per week buys one mini-share, i.e. one medium-sized bag of veggies, which we split, from June through mid-November. (Trust me, a mini-share is plenty of veggies for two people.) The shares are delivered to her office every Tuesday afternoon.

Our farm grows mostly vegetables and herbs. Other CSA farms operate in different ways: some include meat and dairy, some you buy week by week.  I like the subscription method, just because there’s no forethought required on my part – I will receive large quantities of vegetables all summer and fall and that is that. And for the cost of just $7.50 per week, I don’t need to buy any produce at the grocery store for 5 ½ months. Lazy-Mollie = winning.

I especially enjoy the creativity my CSA forces on me. I try vegetables I’ve never heard of, wouldn’t usually buy, or maybe don’t particularly like. I find myself googling phrases like “kohlrabi recipes,” “how to roast turnips,” “can I eat fennel raw?” and “vegetables on the grill.”

So far I’ve had yellow squash, zucchini, red potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, escarole, garlic scapes, green onions, kohlrabi, basil, Swiss chard, turnips, and lots and lots of beets.

If you think of beets as those sad squares at the salad bar, think again. Fresh beets are super-flavorful, dazzlingly colorful, and absolutely delicious. I eat them in all things, recently focusing on risotto preparations. The first time I made beet risotto, I used farro as my grain of choice, but it took FOREVER to cook.

The following recipe uses a Trader Joe’s box risotto. If you use regular risotto rice (aka Arboria rice) instead, I suggest adding some herbs or spices or at least a veggie or chicken broth for extra flavor.

Beet Risotto

Printable Recipe.

  • 3 medium-sized beets, cut into 1/2 –inch cubes (about 2 cups) I leave the skin on, but you can peel them if you want.
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 box Trader Joe’s Mushroom and Herb Risotto (OR 3 cups risotto/Arborio rice)
  • 3 cups water, or chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top


  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat oil. Add risotto rice and green onions and toast while stirring occasionally until the rice is browned (2-3 minutes). 
  2. Add 3 cups water or broth of your choice and TJ’s flavor packet (if you’re using the box mix), and beets. Bring to a boil, then turn to a simmer. 
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed. If the rice is still crunchy, add more liquid, ½ cup at a time, until it’s done. (If you’re using the box mix, this should take about 20 minutes. If you’re using Arborio rice, it might take up to 45 minutes.)
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy! 
Serving suggestion: On top of spinach with an over-easy egg. (i.e. Mollie's Bowl O'Dinner!)

Printable Recipe.