Beetroot and Goats' Cheese Risotto

When I first started learning how to cook one of the dishes I'd frequently revisit (and exhaust) was the classic Milanese dish of risotto. It soon became my calling card; I knew how to cook a decent risotto. But by the twentieth time of cooking a risotto I suddenly had an epiphany...I'd become a one-dish wonder.  That realisation forced me to change tact and to save the risotto for special occasions. I had to learn how to cook something else. Over the years I revisited the risotto several times but the more I cooked it more adventurous I became. 

This specific recipe isn't the most adventurous of my attempts but it has an immediate visual impact and a wonderful sweet, earthy taste from the beetroot. The fresh goats' cheese turns this from a good risotto into a very good one (if I say so myself). When I brought this out for my Mum to try she was taken aback by the colour but she had something on her mind. She first stared at the risotto and then inspected the dish before exclaiming that there was something quite devilish about the colour and to a superstitious woman like her it was quite alarming. She did try it and I'm glad to say she loved it (and there were no ill effects nor any sign of an antichrist). 

1 cup Egyptian short grain rice (or Carnaroli)
2-2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 stalk celery
1 large onion
2 small cloves of garlic
1 dessert spoon olive oil
a splash of a dry white wine (optional)
3 medium sized beetroots - grated
2 tablespoons of parmesan
1 tablespoon of good quality butter
1 block fresh soft goats cheese (I used a variety from the Poitou-Charentes region)
salt and pepper (careful on the salt, there's stock and parmesan in this)

Sweat the diced onion and celery in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic for no longer than half a minute. Add the rice and make sure that every grain is coated in oil and fry for a minute. Add the wine if you're using it or proceed ahead if you're not. Add the beetroot and stir in and then ladle on the first spoonful of stock. Try to stir this as few times as possible. You only want to stir to stop it from sticking. Add a ladleful of stock at a time until the rice has increased in size and is tender to the bite. You want to make sure not to dry out the rice too much so it's best to add a little more stock after your rice is cooked to your liking. Add the grated parmesan and butter and stir. Cover and leave to rest for one minute. Cut the goats' cheese into chunks whilst you wait. Spoon on the risotto and layer with some goats cheese and a splash of olive oil. Then it's time to eat!


1 September 2009 at 10:09 Liban said...

Oh man. Beetroot?!

How can you use beetroot for anything at all? The only thing beetroot is good for is ballast. Otherwise, sounds good. Or as good as anything with beetroot in it can be.

1 September 2009 at 15:55 Phoo-D said...

The earthy combination of beetroot and goat cheese would be delicious in a risotto! Great idea and I love the color. (Your Mum's comment made me laugh =) ).

2 September 2009 at 23:38 M. A. Salha said...

Liban - I love beetroot. At university I went through a phase of eating beetroot every night. But in this case you have to have the goats' cheese otherwise the dish is quite unbalanced. I think it'd win you over.

Phoo-D - I'm so glad it turned out okay. I was a bit sceptical about adding the beetroot (and how to go about doing so) but I think it delivered (and I'm relieved it did).

3 September 2009 at 03:15 Anonymous said...

That looks great! I love making risotto and fall is the perfect time for it! I love using butternut squash or doing a simple lemon risotto with lemon zest and juice.
I am a huge fan of beetroot so I will have to try this!

4 September 2009 at 06:45 Jada said...

How pretty! I can totally relate to the one-dish wonder thing! Risotto was my first real foray into cooking as well, but I've since branched out!

5 September 2009 at 16:52 M. A. Salha said...

traveleatlove - Thanks! I agree that this is the perfect time for it. The weather here in London has been a bit drab but it means we can spoil ourselves a bit with really filling food. I don't think I've ever made a lemon risotto but I may just have to!

Jada - Thanks! Risotto is still one of my comfort foods. I guess rice in general is. I'm glad we both found a way of branching out on what we eat :-)

17 September 2009 at 02:14 RevJen said...

I wanted to make this as soon as I saw the photo on TasteSpotting. I finally had time tonight. Wonderful!!!

24 September 2009 at 22:58 M. A. Salha said...

RevJen - I'm glad it worked out for you :-)

12 September 2010 at 04:14 katty said...

I must to say the cheese drives me crazy, I approach every time for eat cheese and I add in my recipes all the time. I read some days ago the cheese have many properties and vitamin. The most important thing is the potassium and calcium the cheese contain. I am sure that When i buying my house through costa rica homes for sale i will prepare a dinner for all my friends and I will add many cheese. That will be wonderful.

6 June 2012 at 11:16 hannahlouroberts said...

I've been looking for a recipe for this ever since I tried it at a restaurant once (and they wouldn't give me the recipe...) - thank you! I must try this ASAP!

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