Beet and Bacon Risotto

Beet and Bacon Risotto cooking in a pot, with a wooden spoon

You guys… this Beet and Bacon Risotto…! It’s too good to be allowed. What’s not to love about risotto already, with all its creamy, carby goodness? But this one is all aswirl with shredded beets and crispy bacon, offering that perfect salty/sweet combo, rounded out with gobs of grated parm and a smidge (more than a smidge) of bacon fat. Are you ready? Let’s go⬇️

This risotto business starts and ends with bacon. So, cook some up and save all the fat – you’re going to cook everything in it and stir an extra tablespoon in at the end for some fatty unctuousness. And, before you think I’m going to delay your risotto enjoyment by instructing you to roast the beets, don’t worry. Just peel and shred them raw on a box grater or in a food processor. Easy peasy.

Shredded beets in the bowl of a food processor

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Get some onions and these lovely hot pink beets going in the bacon fat, then stir in a cup of arborio rice. Cook the rice for a bit before giving it a healthy pour of wine. Most risotto recipes call for white wine but, I don’t know… something about beets and bacon was nudging me towards red. I used this Beaujolais from Domaine J. Boulon; it’s smooth with flavors of cherry, plum, and leather. Talk about a match made in heaven… it was freaking delicious with this meal.

Round of applause for the pretty color of this risotto-in-the-making:

Beet and Bacon Risotto cooking in a pot, with a wooden spoon

If you’ve ever made risotto before, you know the next step and every step after that is “stir”. Add chicken stock and stir, add stock and stir, add stock and stir. Some folks don’t like this part but I love it. I feel like I’m part of the action, coaxing the rice along, into something creamy and comforting and amazing. A lot of peace can be found with a glass of wine in one hand and a wooden spoon in the other 🤷‍♀️

When the rice is the texture you want it – tender but still retaining a little bite – finish it off as mentioned earlier, with a spoonful of bacon fat, a bunch of grated parm, and as much extra stock as you need to make it smooth and creamy. These three things are like your Risotto Magic Wand – in an instant, they take your pot of pretty darn good risotto and make it completely magical. Happy risotto day, guys ❤️ Enjoy!

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Beet and Bacon Risotto

Beet and Bacon Risotto cooking in a pot, with a wooden spoon

A creamy, smoky, rich risotto with a beautiful balance of sweet beets and salty bacon, plus a little red wine cooked in! No need to roast the beets first – just shred them and allow them to cook down with onions right in the bacon fat. Easy!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb of bacon, chopped *reserve all of the bacon fat, you’ll need 4 TBS
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 large or 2 small red beets, peeled and shredded (use a box grater or a food processor)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 C arborio rice
  • 1/2 C red wine (I used Beaujolais)
  • 56 C chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • 2 oz (about 1 C) grated parmesan 

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken stock in a saucepan on a low burner; keep warm. Cook the bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat until crispy. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon and set it aside for garnish. Pour off all but 3 TBS of the bacon fat and save the rest.
  2. Add the onion to the bacon fat in the pot and season with a little salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the grated beet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 
  3. Add the rice to the pot, cook, stirring, until the edges of some of the grains of rice are translucent. Add the wine, reduce the heat, and simmer until the pot is mostly dry.
  4. Add the nutmeg and a big pinch of crushed red pepper. Add a couple ladlefuls of chicken stock to the rice and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the stock has been absorbed and the pot is mostly dry. Repeat this process, a couple ladlefuls of stock at a time, until the rice is tender but still retains a little bite to it. Start tasting it after about 20 minutes.  *Don’t use all the stock, save 1/2 – 1 C for finishing the risotto.
  5. When the rice is the texture you want it to be, turn off the heat, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of bacon fat and the parmesan. Add enough of the remaining chicken stock as needed to make the risotto smooth and saucy – when you draw a line through it with a spoon, it should slowly ooze back in to fill the line. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed, garnish with the crispy bacon and another pinch of crushed red pepper. Enjoy!

Notes

This risotto, an arugula salad, some charred crusty bread, and a bottle of Domaine J. Boulon Beaujolais, was the best meal I’ve had in a while! Definitely try that pairing if you’re a wine drinker😊 

Keywords: Beet risotto, bacon risotto, Beaujolais pairing

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