This recipe combines subtle earthiness with an almost fluorescent colour. The contrast of the beetroot, cheese and chives is particularly exciting.
Beetroot risotto and goat’s cheese
Serves 4 as a generous starter or as a light lunch (serves 2 for supper)
1 litre vegetable stock
250g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
2 tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
½ stick of celery, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
175g risotto rice
100ml dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper
125g mild, soft, rindless goat’s cheese
A few chopped chives
Put the stock and beetroot in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to just below simmering point. In a heavy pan, heat the oil and sweat the onion, celery and garlic over a gentle flame until soft, but not coloured. Add the rice, turn up the heat a little, and stir until coated in the oil. Add the wine and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Add 2 ladlefuls of the hot stock, scooping up some beetroot bits, and continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and beetroot, and again stir until absorbed. Season well. Keep adding stock in this way until the rice grains are al dente. Use a splash of boiling water if the stock runs out.
Once the rice is cooked, season well, stir in the butter and half the goat’s cheese, then cover the pan and take off the heat for 3 minutes. Taste and season again if you think it needs it. To serve, spoon into wide bowls, adding more goat’s cheese, and sprinkle with chopped chives.