Like rubies, real rubies, the Prince of Vegetables – such is the humble beetroot. This is another beetroot risotto, a perfect combination of the earthy taste of beetroot with the creaminess of risotto. Such an unusual colour! It is beautiful served on white or green plates. A splendour of colour! Stand back and wait for the spontaneous applause which is sure to come.
If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101 first.
There are a few risotto rices available. Rices suitable for risotto have a creamy, chewy texture due to its higher amylopectin (one of two components in its starch) content. Aborio is a very popular risotto rice, but it is fun to experiment with different rices. Your Italian grocery will most likely stock alternative risotto rices. There is an argument that aborio is not the best rice for risotto. Most recommended alternatives are carnaroli and vialone nano. Recently I have been using Riso Vialone Nano, but for this one I am using carnaroli. It is wonderfully creamy.
Beetroot and Pinot Risotto
(If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101 first)
2 roasted or boiled beetroot, cubed
1 red or white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
250 ml pinot noir
250 ml beetroot juice
6 cups of vegetable stock or water – a little more or less might be needed
sea salt and black pepper
2 Tblspn chopped parsley
25 g butter
2 cups risotto rice
Heat the beetroot juice and stock until simmering.
In a heavy based pan, heat the oil, and add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook until the onion is translucent.
Stir the rice in the oil mixture for 2 minutes until you hear a cracking sound and the rice becomes translucent. Add the wine, and stir constantly until it is absorbed. Add a ladle of the juice and stock, and again stir constantly until it is absorbed. Continue adding more liquid in this manner until the rice is cooked.
Taste after 18 minutes. The rice should be firm to the bite. If you like it less chalky, cook for up to another 5 minutes, so that it is tender in the middle, but not soft. Remove the rice from the heat.
When the rice is cooked but still al dente, add the butter and beat with a wooden spoon until all the butter is incorporated, adding a little more stock if necessary to keep it moist and soupy. cubed beetroot and mix through.
Season with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper, cover and rest for two minutes and serve.
Serve sprinkled with parsley.
recipe notes and alternatives
Use a wooden spoon and make sure that you stir the risotto often, especially toward the end of the cooking time. This brings out the starch in the rice, which is what makes it so creamy.
I have also mashed steamed or roasted pumpkin into this, and added chunks of boiled potatoes. Beetroot risotto can also take a very strong vegetable stock.