Making risotto is one my favourite things to do in the kitchen, especially when I have a glass of wine and someone to chat to while I do it. Tonight I cooked a delicious beetroot risotto, made with both roasted and raw beetroot for extra colour and flavour. I was so keen to gobble it, I forgot to add the goats’ cheese topping until it was already half eaten, but it works with or without the extra cheese, so not a problem. Here is my recipe. I made a child-friendly version for my daughter earlier, by omitting the wine and using a salt-free vegetable stock.
Unbeatable beetroot risotto (serves 2, generously)
4-5 fresh beetroot
2 cloves garlic
Large stick celery
1 mug arborio rice
1 tbsp fresh oregano
150ml dry white wine
750ml (approx) chicken or vegetable stock (if I don’t have homemade chicken stock in the fridge I use Swiss Vegetable Bouillon with a couple of dried mushrooms, vegetable and herb offcuts thrown in)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1-2″ chunk of pecorino, finely grated
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Knob of butter
Goats’ cheese (optional)
Peel and quarter three or four beetroot, coat lightly in oil and roast in a hot oven (190 c) for 40 minutes or so. Peel and grate one raw beetroot and save for later.
Heat your stock in a saucepan and keep it warm on the hob while you cook the risotto.
Fry the onion, garlic and celery in oil and butter for 4-5 minutes, then add the rice and stir to coat in the oil.
Add the white wine and stir until it is absorbed into the rice.
Add the fresh oregano and a ladleful of stock then cook the rice slowly, stirring constantly. Add a ladleful of stock at a time and stir until absorbed before adding more liquid.
When the rice is nearly cooked (about 20 minutes), add the cubed cooked beetroot, half the grated raw beetroot and a teaspoon of red wine vinegar.
When the rice is cooked – creamy, glossy and soft with a slight bite – stir in the remaining raw grated beetroot, the butter, finely grated pecorino, chopped parsley and a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper. If I’m not using homemade stock I’m cautious about adding more salt.
Serve right away with a good squeeze of lemon, topped with goats’ cheese or a touch more grated pecorino.
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