As with any risotto, the consistency and texture of the end result can be the difference between a delicious or disappointing meal.

The rice should be firm but not al dente. The risotto should have a creamy consistency, not a stiff or solid one. And when served, it should sit up at first but then gently collapse on the plate.

This beetroot risotto recipe is absolutely delicious and serves four. As instructed, make sure you roast the beetroot the day before so they have time to cool. This will really help to bring out the full flavour, as will using a homemade stock.

Don’t forget to pre-roast the beetroot or the risotto won’t taste nearly as good!

Main ingredients for beetroot risotto

The main ingredients…

Homemade vegetable stock

Preparing a homemade stock.

Roasted beetroot

Don’t forget to pre-roast the beetroot!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 340g Arborio risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • Approx. 800ml vegetable stock – preferably homemade
  • 150g goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 3 medium sized beetroot, cooked (see below) and diced ½ cm
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 bunch of rocket or watercress, chopped
  • Small handful walnut halves, toasted and crumbled

The day before

Pre-heat oven to 200c. Wrap the beetroot in foil. Place in the oven and bake till soft enough to be able to push a skewer through a beetroot with ease. Remove and leave to completely cool.

Note: If you are cooking 3 beetroots in this way, why not cook a dozen? They will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and you can use them in many different dishes. Alternatively, peel them and quarter them and bottle them with cider or wine vinegar and spices – a mix of peppercorns, star anise and cloves.

You could also toast the walnuts in the oven at the same time. They will only take 5 minutes at that heat.

Method

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook gently, until the onion is softened but not brown, then add the rice and stir well to coat in the buttery juices.

Pour in the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed by the rice. Start adding the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, allowing the liquid to become absorbed before adding the next ladleful, stirring all the time.

When the rice is just al dente, stir in the beetroot and cook for a few minutes more, stirring well, to allow the rice to take on both the colour and the flavour of the beets. Check the seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Stir in the rocket and and half the crumbled goat’s cheese. The consistency should now be as above. Serve onto warm plates and scatter each risotto with remaining goat’s cheese, the crumbled walnuts and perhaps some freshly chopped chives.

Barny Haughton is a chef, restaurateur, cookery school teacher and Eco Food pioneer. He has run three award-winning restaurants in Bristol over the last 25 years (Rocinantes, Quartier Vert and Bordeaux Quay).

Barny is best known for his work at Square Food Foundation, Bristol’s Cookery School & Community Kitchen, where he is Director and Head Teacher, teaching people from all walks of life to cook good food.

Barny Haughton, Square Food Foundation