I absolutely LOVE risotto of any kind, and I absolutely LOVE beetroot too, so this meal is high on my scale of comfort food. The only issue is time, and there’s really no short-cut to good risotto, so it’s no good planning this if there’s after school activities to get to. Luckily for me, Miss E’s ukulele teacher is on holidays, so Tuesday evenings are free for risotto stirring at the moment.
I love to roast beetroot at the beginning of the week, for risotto or whatever, and then add to salads and all sorts of other things for the next couple of days.
Both beetroot greens and roots are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, so adding some of the young greens from a bunch of baby beets to a salad is a great idea too. Nothing’s wasted at our place with the guinea-pig and chickens dealing with the rest of the green tops!
This dish is based on a recipe by Clare Gordon-Smith in her book Flavouring with Olive Oil. I couldn’t find a recipe link online, but the book is available from all the usual suspects. I have, however, added my own secret ingredient, a splash of balsamic vinegar, at the end, which makes it a bit special.
- 1 bunch of baby beetroots plus one or two loose mature ones
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (do not rinse the rice)
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- balsamic vinegar
- 20g butter
- 60g freshly grated parmesan
- Chopped fresh sage to garnish
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare and clean the baby beetroots, cutting any larger ones in half.
- Clean and chop the larger beetroot into bite-sized cubes.
- Toss in olive oil and roast in a pre-heated oven at 200C for around 30 minutes, checking and turning at the halfway mark.
- Beetroot should be tender when a sharp knife is slipped in.
- To make the risotto first heat the stock to barely simmering in a saucepan. Keep it simmering.
- In a heavy-based deep frying pan, heat the oil on a low heat and gently fry the onions until softened and translucent.
- Add the rice and gently stir to coat the grains.
- Add one ladle at a time of hot stock, stirring gently and constantly, until each ladle of stock is absorbed before adding the next.
- Add the roasted beetroot, a bit at a time as you stir, until all the beetroot has been added and the risotto has taken on the red colour.
- This should take around 15 -20 minutes, but test the rice before adding the last of the stock, as cooking varies. The rice should be soft and just a hint al dente.
- Remove from the heat and add a splash of balsamic vinegar, stir gently.
- Add the butter and parmesan and cover for a couple of minutes for them to melt.
- Stir and serve immediately garnished with shaved parmesan and chopped sage if you like that sort of thing.