Monday, 13 April 2009

Blindingly beautiful beetroot risotto

For those of you out there who love beetroot, this recipe is definitely for you! However if you're trying to convince someone that beetroot is an awesomely delicious food, perhaps this isn't the best recipe to start with. It's exceptionally beetrooty. This risotto turns out vividly pink/red, so is visually stunning (or startling?). I made my risotto with 2/3 barley, 1/3 arborio rice to lower the GI for a diabetic member of the household, and the slightly nutty flavour of the barley blended well with the walnuts and the earthiness of the beetroot. The flavour and appearance is offset with goats cheese or fetta and finally topped with roquette, or if you have a fresh bunch of beets you can use the beet leaves.

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.


Isis the Scientist said...

This looks absolutely beautiful, Beth!

Kristy said...

oh I absolutely love beetroot risotto, but it's a bit scary the colour it makes your (ahem) wee the next day!