How to make celebrity chef Massimo Capra’s red beet risotto

As many of us find ourselves cooking at home instead of dining out, we’re sharing recipes from some of Toronto’s top chefs and restaurants.

When celebrity chef Massimo Capra (of Capra’s Kitchen, Top Chef Canada and Wall of Chefs) started experimenting with red beets and risotto years ago, he concedes the results were less than spectacular. “The first few times that we made it, it was awful,” he chuckles. Capra was outright ridiculed after entering the dish into a risotto contest in Italy. But after perfecting the recipe, Capra’s risotto has become a huge hit. “Now, everyone likes it!”

So without further ado, here is Capra’s red beet risotto recipe (serves 4 to 6):

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Carnaroli rice
  • 2 cups red beet juice, pure and from fresh beets
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 oz white onions, finely chopped
  • 2 bunches of red beets, with tops
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (approximately)
  • 4 oz white wine
  • 3 oz butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

1) Pre-heat oven to 350°

2) Season the beet juice with the honey and a pinch of salt; boil for a few minutes and skim off the foam; strain and set aside until needed.

3) Wash the red beet bunches and cut the leaves off close to the bulb; finely chop the leaves and stems and set aside.

4) Place the beet bulbs in a pan and cover with tinfoil; bake in oven until tender; cool and then peel and cut into a small dice.

5) Sweat the onions in two-thirds of the butter and the oil; add the beet leaves and stems, roasted beets, the garlic; mix well until tender.

6) Add the rice and toast for a few seconds to make the rice warm.

7) Sprinkle the wine over the rice and let evaporate well.

8) Add all the beet juice and continue simmering, adding the vegetable stock as needed.

Chef’s Tips

Altogether this should take 16 to 18 minutes. Do not forget to stir to avoid sticking and to develop the necessary starches to make the risotto creamy.

Do not add too much stock toward the end; keep in mind that the risotto is not a soup.

When the rice is cooked, remove from the fire and add the remaining butter and the cheese and “whip” to make it fluffy. Serve immediately, topped with grated Parmigiano.

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