Beet Risotto Cakes
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 10
- 2–3 medium-size beets (about 1 pound), peeled and diced (¼-inch) or 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) beets, diced, liquid reserved
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (if using fresh beets)
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 pound Italian arborio short-grain rice for risotto
- ½ cup red wine (optional)
- Vegetable stock or water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil or butter for frying
If starting with fresh, cook the diced beets in enough water to cover them, along with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Combine the cooking or canning liquid with enough water to total 8 cups. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, and cook over medium heat until it attains a chalky, cooked color, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine to the cooking rice; stir constantly with a wooden spoon until all liquid is absorbed. Gradually start to add the stock mixture in ½-cup increments, stirring constantly, waiting until all liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Continue until rice is saucy, but still slightly “al dente.” Season with salt and pepper; stir in the Parmesan, cooked beets, and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. The risotto is now ready to be served as a soft entrée, garnished with Parmesan shavings. If using for Risotto Cakes, transfer mixture into a buttered 9″ × 13″ glass baking dish; set aside to cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until risotto is firm to the touch.
Using a 3-inch cookie cutter or other shaping device (a 15-ounce can with both ends removed works quite well), cut out as many round cakes as you can (ball up and reflatten all the remaining bits). Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter. Dip the flat surfaces of the risotto cakes in cornmeal, and fry them until a crisp crust forms and they are golden brown on the outside, hot on the inside, about 4 minutes per side. Serve hot or warm.