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There's an old Tuscan recipe, says Rach, where you partially cook pasta in boiling water, then finish cooking it in a combination of reduced Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscan red wine), roasted beets, sauteed shallots and a little garlic. The noodles suck up all the wine and turn the deepest shade of ruby red. The dish is absolutely beautiful, Rach says. "It looks like the holidays!" Naturally, she serves some version of red wine spaghetti during the holiday season, and throughout the year. (Fun fact: one of the biggest "holidays" she served it at was the 80th birthday of Jacques Pepin, who had never had it before!)
So, how did this beet risotto come about? During a recent trip to Italy, her sister requested red wine spaghetti for breakfast—made not with pasta, but with risotto, like a porridge! Once Rach got over her surprise ("You want risotto for breakfast?"), she happily got cooking and ended up topping the bowls with fried eggs. The result was such a hit, it's become a family favorite for brunch during the holidays or anytime, but can also be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, making it a BLD dish. We think you'll love it, too!
John's Mambo Italiano Cocktail—made with Prosecco, Cointreau, orgeat and pomegranate juice—goes great with the risotto!
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Layer 2 sheets of foil and place beets in center of foil, then spray lightly with oil to help skins slide away when you slough them later. Season with salt and pepper. Form a pouch, seal closed and roast 60 to 75 minutes until fork tender on small baking sheet (just in case the beets leak juice).
Cool and peel beets with paper towels and shred on large-tooth grater.
Heat wine and stock in a saucepot over low heat to warm the liquids. Pour any leftover beet juice from the foil pouch into the pot.
Heat the EVOO in a round-bottom pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper and stir 3 minutes. Add garlic and rice and season with salt and pepper; let rice toast for a minute. Add pollen and zest, stir a minute more, then add the first third of the wine and stock, stirring with round wooden spoon or risotto paddle (a spoon with a hole in the center to build the starch in the rice as you stir). Once you add the first liquids, the risotto should take 18 minutes to al dente. Add in the grated beets once the first addition of liquids has been absorbed. Add the next additions of liquids only after each is fully absorbed. With the last addition of the liquids, add the greens (reserving some for garnish) to wilt in and then stir in butter and cheese when rice is just right and still pourable. Stir in herbs, reserving just a bit to garnish.
Fry eggs up easy or over hard with dabs of butter over medium heat.
Serve risotto in shallow bowls topped with eggs seasoned with salt and pepper and a bit of herbs.