Brown Rice Risotto with Beets and Basil

The way I cook, you wouldn’t even know that I have a food blog. I either cook the same stuff I always cook (another tofu scramble? miso-curry squash again?) or I make something like this:

It’s practically impossible to take a non-disgusting photo of something that is mushy and full of beets. This turned out really delicious at least!

I’m not sure where the beet + basil combination came from, but I had some leftover basil from something I was making last week and beets sprang to mind. It’s a unique flavor combination, not least because basil is from the summer, and beets are winter vegetables, so the chances to combine these flavors are limited.

Also, a note on the use of the term “risotto.” According to Wikipedia, my source for all the necessary technical definitions in my life (usually math-related), risotto “is a class of Italian dishes of rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency” – not necessarily made of arborio rice. The reason this questionably qualifies as a risotto is that I don’t like broth and therefore used water. It’s also notably less creamy than it would have been if made from arborio rice, but I liked that. Here’s the recipe.

Brown Rice Risotto with Beets and Basil 

4 beets, peeled and diced
1 red onion, peeled and diced
olive oil
1C brown rice
about 4C water, or broth, or a combination
1 15-oz can chickpeas
1/4C minced basil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper

0. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

1. Place the beets and onion on a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the rice as per usual, but add an extra quarter to half cup of water.

3. Let the beets cool for the additional 10 or so minutes the rice will take. Then combine the vegetables and rice with the additional water/broth/what have you in a frying pan or similar over medium heat. As with any risotto, stir frequently. Unlike other risottos, the process will take only about half an hour. The rice is already cooked, it just needs to soak up some more stuff.

4. After about 10 minutes, add the basil, garlic, and chick peas.

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