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risotto with beetroots and crunchy speck

An attractive and very tasty risotto

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 3€ pp)
  • 240 g beetroots, steamed or roasted and turned to a fine purée
  • 240 g Carnaroli rice
  • 1,2 litre vegetable stock
  • A small glass of white wine
  • EV olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 40 g butter
  • 40 g parmigiano or grana cheese
  • Salt
  • Fresh oregano
  • 50 g speck in thin slices

Rice is one of the main ingredients used in Italian cuisine, especially at the northern part of the country. Italian risotti are famous all over the world. Today, we will prepare a beetroot one, ruby red, like the wine and the Cleveland Cavaliers jersey.

We start our risotto by “frying” the speck. We put it in a cold pan, with no additional fats at all and, using very low temperature, we let the fats come out of the speck. After about 15- 20 minutes in the pan, there will be a liquid and very tasty fat and some very crunchy slices of speck. We remove the solid parts and we keep aside.

We continue by preparing a soffritto. We cut in very small dice the onion and we gently fry it for about 5 minutes, in the speck fats, with the addition of some olive oil, if required.

When the onion starts to become transparent, we add the beetroot purée and we continue cooking for another 10 mins, adding some stock, if necessary. I have to underline that the beets must be initially roasted or, even better, steamed and NOT boiled, in order to retain their colour and aromatic intensity.


a) We bring the stock to a boil

b) In a small pan we lightly toast the rice WITH NO FAT AT ALL

When the rice is so hot, that we cannot keep it in our hands, we add it in the pan with the beetroot purée. We also pour in the wine and then we start cooking the risotto, adding a ladle of very hot – boiling stock, whenever the liquid starts to get reduced. The colour of the whole preparation will start becoming ruby, like the colour of the beetroots. During all this time we stir with a ladle, rarely in the beginning and more often as the risotto continues to be prepared.

While the rice is being prepared, we finely grate the cheese.

When the rice is ready (al dente, of course), we remove the pan from the stove. We taste the salt and, if needed, we add some more.

We start adding the butter and the cheese, while stirring constantly. We continue stirring, until we obtain a very creamy result, then we cover the pan with a lid and we let it stand for 3 minutes. After the addition of the butter and the cheese, the colour of the preparation will become a little bit more red/ruby and less purple than before.

After this time, we stir again and we check if the risotto is well bound. If the risotto is too dry, we add a little stock and we continue stirring. If, on the other hand, the risotto is too wet, we continue cooking it till creamy.

We put in plates, adding crunchy speck pieces and fresh oregano leaves and we serve.


Published in RICE