I don’t know what the weather has been like for you where you are, but here in the Bay Area we’ve had a schizophrenic winter season that has been waffling between bone-chilling cold to warm early summer weather.

So planning meals have required that I had to be pretty flexible, going with what I find at the market and the weather report. Every day it’s like a Top Chef challenge on what kind of meal would work for the night.

That’s why I feel this dish of golden beet risotto topped with Dungeness crab meat is a great in-between seasonal dish, partly because the stick-to-your-ribs risotto with winter beets will comfort you in the cold but the crab meat topped with some crunchy radishes are light enough to easily eat on a warm day.

I chose golden beets because they’re easy to work with and not as messy as the standard red beets, but you can choose whatever beets are your favorite. Keep in mind people make sugar from beets, so this dish can seem really sweet, which is why I countered it with sprinkling a pinch of finishing salt (I used pink sea salt) on top of the radishes.

I also had crab in the freezer from awhile back when I had an extra crab so I cooked it and saved the meat for just the right recipe. Turned out the time was now, as we move from winter to spring. Enjoy!

The finished dish

Golden Beet Risotto with Crab Recipe
Makes 2 servings

3-4 Golden beets (about 1 lb.)
4 to 6 oz. Dungeness crab meat or lump crab meat
2 French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
3-4 cups of chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
Juice from 1 lemon
4 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper to season

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Start by roasting the beets. Scrub the beets clean and remove green tops, then place on roasting pan and coat with olive oil and season with kosher salt. Place in oven and cook until tender, when you can stick a fork and it easily goes to the center of the beet. About 35-45 minutes. Depending on the size of your beets, you may want to cut the large ones in half so they cook faster.

When cooked, remove from oven and let cool. Then peel off the skin under running water. Dice into small chunks and set aside. TIP: You can prepare the beets the night before and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prep the radishes by creating a simple lemon vinaigrette by whisking the lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until blended, then add radish slices and set aside.

Now you’re ready to cook your risotto. Warm the remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and then add the onion and garlic, cooking until the onion becomes translucent (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the risotto rice to toast it (about 2 minutes) and then add the white wine. Let cook until the wine is nearly evaporated, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Starting adding the broth, a couple of ladles at a time over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, and adding broth as you go until the risotto is cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes. (Test by getting a rice kernel and biting in, if it’s still chalky, then you’ll need to cook it a bit longer.) When it’s nearly done, add the beet chunks and stir until blended. Remove from heat and stir in butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plate up your risotto and then place cooked crab meat on top. Then finish by adding a few slices of the radishes and a pinch of finishing salt (any kind of sea salt would do) around the radishes. Serve immediately.

Golden beets after being roasted in the oven

French breakfast radishes are milder than regular radishes (and prettier)

Thinly sliced radishes are dressed in a simple lemon vinaigrette

Stirring in the roasted beets. Almost time to eat!

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5 Responses to The In-between Season Dish of Beet Crab Risotto

  1. hungry dog says:

    Did you just make this recipe up? It sounds amazing. I love those little radishes, would never think to use them in risotto. But the real brilliance is the salt finish. Nice job, Ben!

    • Ben Ben says:

      Thanks! Yes, I made it up myself. 🙂 I saw a lot of people making beet risotto with goat cheese, that seemed really common. But like I said, I had the leftover crab meat in my freezer that I wanted to use, and since I was using seafood, I thought cheese probably wouldn’t be a good idea, which is why I add butter at the end to help with the creamy texture. And the radish was the idea to provide some crunch and the lemon vinaigrette was to cut the richness of the crab and risotto. And viola!

  2. Row says:

    Yum, what a lovely-looking and unique dish! I really like how you have the different textures and tastes going on. Haven’t tried making risotto yet, so this recipe will be a great springboard for me. 🙂

  3. Carolyn Jung says:

    I bet this was superb. Crab and risotto are heavenly together. And beets, with their natural sweetness, would only enhance everything else.

  4. Karen says:

    So glad I have you back on my yahoo front page!!!! This looks like a great dish. My mom always squirrels away peak of the season crab in the freezer too!!