Whenever I see the bunches of beetroot in shops at the moment, I can’t resist putting one in my basket. It goes with so much, and tastes a lot nicer (in my opinion) than the pickled stuff. It’s easy to cook – you simply trim the stems not quite to the beet – this helps prevent the beet ‘bleeding’ – and simmer in a pan for around 30 minutes or until tender. I’ve found they are easier to peel under running water, and this way there is slightly less chance of mess!
Goat’s cheese and beetroot are a delightful pairing – the earthy but sweet beetroot compliments the salty goat’s cheese perfectly. A creamy risotto provides the subtle backdrop for these two special flavours. This is a recipe that I kind of put together myself, baring in mind that a basic risotto (which I made here) can be the base for lots of ingredients, so have a go at pairing your favourite flavours and adding to a risotto. With that in mind, please excuse me if I give slightly sketchy information. I didn’t weigh anything! This recipe is actually quite cheap to make, working out at about £2.30 for 4 portions, which then breaks down to 57p per person. Ingredients were mainly from Asda, with the goat’s cheese from Lidl at £1.50 for 180g – it’s a bigger pack for only a little more money than a 120g pack at Asda.
Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Risotto – serves around 4
around 250g risotto rice
2 fresh beetroot, stalks removed not quite to the end and reserved
2 garlic cloves
fresh thyme leaves
about 6 thick slices of goat’s cheese, roughly chopped
vegetable stock, around 500ml although you may need more
salt and pepper to season
parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Set a pan of water to boil on the hob and place the beetroot in to simmer for around 30 minutes or until tender to the point of a knife.
2. Finely chop the onion and garlic. You can also wash and chop the beetroot stalks into small pieces if you would like to use them. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, and add the onion and garlic, taking care not to let them brown, but to become translucent. When this has happened, tip in the risotto rice and stir to coat in the oil until this too becomes translucent around the edges. I’ve never seen it go totally translucent.
3. Start to add the vegetable stock a ladleful at a time. The heat should be quite low so that the rice and stock are simmering, not boiling. It is time to add more stock when you draw a spoon through the rice and a clear path is left. Add the beetroot stalks at some point now if you wish to use them. Continue on in this way with the stock until the rice is tender. It will take at least 20 minutes. You may need more stock, or just add hot water like I did. Season to taste.
4. When the beetroot are done, place in cold water to cool them down and then peel under cold running water. Chop into pieces about half an inch. Stir through the risotto. Add the goat’s cheese pieces and the thyme leaves. When it is all heated through and the cheese has begun to melt, serve in a bowl with a sprinkling of parmesan if you like.
I find that risottos go really stodgy if left to stand, a bit like pasta dishes. Adding a little water each time you reheat can help break the stodge down and loosen the risotto up. If you excuse me, I’m off to eat some now!