Last year when we went back to France for Christmas we had several time beetroot, mainly in winter style salads, and I realized that in Japan this is not a common vegetable, just like fennel, kale or so many other vegetables that are common in the west (celery was hard to find a few years ago and outrageously expensive). So the other day when I spotted a beautiful beetroot I just couldn't resist. But to be honest it was the first time ever I bought a beetroot! Back in the time we lived in Paris my mother in law would give me beetroot from her garden but she would cook them before. And usually I would prepare them in salad, since I've never been a big fan of it until last year!! I guess it is mainly due to the fact that in France the classic way is to boil or steam them and them make plain beetroot salads... It's notvery attractive.
Well then, I ended up with a fresh beetroom, and it took me a couple of days to figure out what to do with it. First of all grilling it in the oven. I search for a few recipes, but them I decided to start with the simplest way: a small oven dish, the beetroot inside, baked at 180deg for about 80min. Then once cold I peeled it. Everywhere on the web I found recipes about goat cheese, beetroot, walnuts salad... Sounded nice to me but a little straighforward and anyway my husband don't eat cheese and doesn't really like walnuts unless it is in a delicious cake or cookie!!! So I passed this recommendation, next were soups and bortch... And finally I found a picture of a beetroot risotto: that's it! I have bought the same day I bought the beetroot at Eataly a nice piece of vintage Parmegianno and a beautiful piece of pancetta. All set!
I used half a leek (the white part) cut in tiny pieces, and butter. Cut the pancetta and added it to the leek in the frypan. Once soft, I added a little more butter, the risotto, and finally added some chicken broth, and cooked until almost all the liquid was gone. I diced half of my beetroot and finally added it. When stirring the rice takes this beautiful pink color. I served and gratted the vintage Parmegianno on top.