Scrub the beets and place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold up the edges of the foil to seal in the beets. Place the package on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool.
Peel the beets and chop them. You should have about 2 cups. (The beets can be prepared a day or two ahead and refrigerated.)
In a wide saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over very low heat. Add the onion and cook until tender and golden, 10 to 20 minutes. Do not let it brown.
Add the rice to the onion and stir for 2 minutes, or until hot. Add the wine and cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add the beets and cook for 1 minute. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. After about 10 minutes, stir in salt and pepper to taste. Continue to add broth and stir until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite. If you run out of broth, use hot water.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in one more 1/2 cup of broth. The risotto should be creamy and moist, not dry. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter until melted. Serve immediately.
If you have leftover risotto, mix it with an egg and shape it into little pancakes. Fry the cakes in olive oil or butter until they are crusty and serve them as a side dish or starter.
Recipe courtesy of Italian Holiday Cooking (Morrow, 2001) by Michele Scicolone