Peonies and Beet Risotto

You can tell I’m my mother‘s daughter because of my ability to mishear words.

I was about five years old at the time and spring had finally arrived in Michigan. Along with the warm weather, we loved seeing the flowers erupting in our yard. (It was always a very proud day when I got to bring my teachers snowballs and lilacs I picked myself.)

However, I didn’t always know what things were called.

That day, I found flowers on our side steps. Naturally, I yelled for my mom that someone had left us a present.

And, in the loud voice that only a five year old has, I bellowed…

“Mom, someone left panties on our doorstep! They’re such pretty panties!!! Panties, mom, panties!!!”

I kept yelling that so the entire neighborhood could hear, or at least until my mother could rush down the stairs to see what was actually on the step.

Peonies. Not panties.

Peonies have been known as “panties” ever since.

Spring’s Arrival Beet and Asparagus Risotto

Beet and Asparagus Risottoone can also not mess up this name


  • 1 beet, roasted, cooled, and diced (you can find plenty of beet recipes online- much of the cooking temp will depend on what kind of beet you have and how big it is! feel free to make more than one for salads and sides!)
  • 1lb asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces, and roasted (throw this into the oven with the beet, topped with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper- you can normally do both at 400 degrees, but the asparagus needs far less time than the beet!)
  • 4 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 1 c white wine
  • 2 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Roast any vegetables, if necessary (it’s easy to do this part ahead- just make more of them to use in other dishes!)
  2. Bring the chicken broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  3. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Add in the rice and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Pour in the white wine. Stir every minute or so until the wine is absorbed. (You want the rice to be at a simmer.)
  6. Start adding in the chicken broth, 1 c at a time, and let the rice absorb the chicken broth, while stirring fairly often.
  7. Continue adding the broth one cup at a time until you have used up all the broth (again, keeping the rice at a simmer the entire time), making sure that you let the rice absorb nearly all the broth before adding the next cup.
  8. Once all the broth has been added, cook for an additional few minutes at a very low heat until the rice reaches your desired consistency (you’re looking for a creamy al dente).
  9. Turn off the heat. Stir in the parmesan and goat cheeses until melted.
  10. Stir in the beets and asparagus until the whole dish is a pretty pink color.
  11. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

51 thoughts on “Peonies and Beet Risotto

  1. The Radical Gardener April 14, 2013 — 3:49 pm

    Same thing in my house. Panties always sounded like pannies. 😀

    1. Nice to know I’m not the only one 😉

  2. That’s hilarious. I’m laughing out loud and nearly snorted my coffee 🙂

    1. I’m at least happy you didn’t choke. 🙂

      1. I will now refer to peonies as panties too 🙂

    1. That at least sounds more like “panties” than “peonies”

  3. Peonies are my favorite flower! I used to call them panties too. Perhaps that is why I love them so, the humor behind it. Honestly, all other things pink are evil lol.

    1. Nice to know I’m not the only one 😉

  4. Good, funny story. I love peonies. We had eight peony bushes in our yard growing up. Unfortunately I never called them panties. There are a lot of vowels in the word so that alone would cause the pronunciation difficulty.

    1. My aunt and uncle always had a ton of peony bushes too- they are pretty flowers

  5. I’ve never had arborio rice. Or roasted beets, for that matter.

    How is arborio rice different that other rice?

    And I’d thought they might be pansies, too, instead of peonies 😉

    1. It’s a shorter grain than regular white rice- it also becomes creamier when you cook it with the risotto method. Sometimes it’s sold as “risotto rice”.

  6. Haha…. cute story! Yum – great idea! Beets in risotto! Definitely going to give it a try next time I get beets from my CSA share. Love the colours too!

    1. It’s a good use of leftover beets, too 🙂

  7. This sounds fab – and appropriate for the weird winter/spring weather we’re having here in SoCal.

    1. We’re having that in Chicago right now- 70 one day and 35 with snow the next

  8. That’s so funny!lol!

  9. Hehehehe… that’s so hilarious!! 😛 😛 I like Peonies too and the panties part just made me laugh so hard.. But I swear the risotto looks so pretty, color is simply awesome to welcome spring-summer.. Yay! Thanks for sharing..

    1. I thought it was a nicely colored dish for that reason 🙂

  10. Margaret Christo April 15, 2013 — 7:33 am

    Loved the story. Thanks for sharing. Will give your recipe a try.

  11. Cute … very cute …. and funny. And I’m a big risotto fan and goats cheese …. love it.
    Thanks for this one.

    1. I use goat cheese in nearly every risotto!

  12. Thanks for becoming my first follower! This is all new to me and very exciting…I hope you enjoy the posts that I have planned for the rest of this week 🙂

    P.s. This story brought a smile to my face. My aunt was reminiscing yesterday about how I always used to say proudly “I kicked the cat, I kicked the cat” when I was very young and got told off…I had to mime that I hadn’t KICKED the cat, I’d KISSED the cat! Thankfully I’ve learned to pronounce my S’s!

    1. You’ll want to check out the two links then at the beginning of my most recent post- it’s two other stories of mishearing and mispronouncing things. 😉

  13. Awesome story. Kids are so funny. Thanks for following my blog, I’m glad to have found you and to follow your’s as well.

  14. Love the pink hue on this risotto!

    1. I thought it made sense to pair with a peony story 🙂

  15. You can’t hear and I can’t read. Here I thought this was a beef and asparagus risotto. Risotto. Still something I have yet to try!

    1. I’m a big fan of any and all risotto (and, thankfully, my boyfriend is Italian, so he’ll eat as much as I’ll make!).

  16. Oh, that’s too funny! Totally made my day! Thanks for following my blog. I’m new at this blogging thing, so I have a lot to learn. I had risotto when I was in Italy, but never made any myself. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I’ve got quite a few risotto recipes on my blog if you’re looking for other flavors! Once you have the method down, you can even use it with potatoes, other pastas, or other grains!

  17. Thanks for the laugh… We have quite a few of those moments in my house now – and I remember a few of my own

    1. My mom keeps reminding me of potential blog posts 😉

  18. What a cute story! So funny! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Hahaha the panties story! So cute. And that risotto sounds incredible…I like any risotto!!

    1. So do I! And thankfully my boyfriend is okay eating it all the time, too 🙂

  20. I like the caption you put on your pictures, good job

  21. I simply love risotto….yummy!

  22. Love the pink! Not used to making rice like that, but I will try! Thank you for sharing

  23. Congratulations!!!
    You won one of the gift packs on Beary Good Stuff! Can you please email your snail mail address to info (@) and I send it off to you!

  24. Delicious recipe, I can’t wait to try.

  25. 🙂 we have panties near the door step too 🙂 , bought them from my old house.

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