I made this a week or so ago. I don't make it very often but it's definitely a fun meal. I think people would get a bit put off if I cooked them blindingly bright pink food on a regular basis. If I take leftovers to work it always gets a (positive) reaction over lunch from my colleagues.
Beetroot barley risotto
1 large bunch of baby beet
600 ml vegetable stock
150 ml red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
160 g barley
85 g arborio rice
2-3 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
75 g walnuts, roughly chopped
125 g soft goats cheese or feta cheese
Fresh roquette or lightly wilted beet greens to serve on top
Thoroughly wash the beetroot. Trim the leaves leaving about 1-2 cm near the root, and leave the tails. If you trim them too far they will ooze pink juice everywhere (which is a real pain). Cook the beetroot using your preferred method: steaming, microwave or boiling. Remove the skins. Dice into 1cm cubes and set aside. This can be done while waiting for the rest of the risotto to cook.
Fry the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the onion, saute for 5 minutes or until it's just soft.
Add rice, barley and thyme, stir and coat in the oil.
Add the red wine, cooking until the red wine is absorbed.
Add the stock mixture, about 1/4 at a time, adding the next part when the liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring regularly. Cook for 30-40 mins or until the barley is al dante.
Add the cubed beets and 2/3 walnuts and continue to stir to distribute the pinkness throughout the risotto. That's the best bit. You made need to add a dash of extra stock at this point (I usually do).
Distributing the colour evenly throughout the risotto: Aii!!
If you're cooking up the beet greens, just wash them down and steam them for about 2 mins. Otherwise, bowl out your risotto, sprinkle crumbled cheese over the risotto, and top with the remaining walnuts, some S&P, and roquette or wilted beet greens.