I have been enjoying my fair share of risottos lately. After attending a photo shoot where the chef made the most delicious black squid risotto, I have had cravings for risotto every day. It’s a bit of a trick risotto because it can go so thick and stodgy and it can be a bit annoying on the old arm as you have to stir for so long. I think one of the most important elements of risotto is the stock—don’t use stock powders/cubes. Ever since I started making my own vegetable stock, I can’t go back to the powdered kind. In this risotto, the beetroot cooks lightly in the stock and is added ladle by ladle to the risotto rice. The goat’s cheese is added at the end to give the whole thing a really delicious taste that’s earthy and rich. Lucas Hollweg in my opinion is the guru of delicious home cooking. He writes some really mouth-watering recipes for the Sunday Times and is one of the only reasons I subscribe to the paper. I’ve cooked so many things from his book Good Things to Eat that I am already running out of recipes and utterly depressed he hasn’t got a second book out yet.
Beetroot risotto with goat’s cheese
1 litre homemade vegetable stock
250g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick of celery, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
175g risotto rice
100ml dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
125g mild, soft, rindless goat’s cheese
a few chopped chives
Heat your stock in a large saucepan and add the beetroot. Simmer gently and keep it on a very low heat.
In a heavy pan, heat the oil and sweat the onion, garlic and celery over a gentle heat until soft but not browned. Add the rice and turn up the heat a little, stirring till the grains of rice are coated in the oil. Add the wine and stir until the liquid has completely absorbed. Now add 2 ladlefuls of the hot stock, including some of the beetroot bits at the same time, and cook over a medium heat, stirring often until the liquid absorbed. Season well with salt and pepper then add a third quantity of stock and stir in. Keep adding the stock like this until the rice grains are just al dente.
When your rice is cooked, taste it for seasoning. Stir in the butter and half the goat’s cheese then cover the pan and leave it off the heat for about 3 minutes. Serve with bits of goat’s cheese and some chopped chives scattered on top.
(Recipe from Good Things to Eat by Lucas Hollweg, Collins, 2011)