Autumn brings colder nights, root vegetables and another shift of direction in the kitchen! As our supermarkets stock the same food all year around, it’s easy to miss seasons and the culinary opportunities that they bring. As part of your change for change sake, why not try and cook one autumnal dish a week for the month of October? This simple beetroot risotto is easy and delicious, just what you need after a long week at work!
You can serve this as you would a normal risotto, with grated pecorino or parmesan on the side. Alternatively, crumble Feta cheese on top, or stir in some mascarpone! To add another dimension to the dish, roast your beetroot with balsamic vinegar, olive oil with salt and pepper all wrapped in tin foil.
30g (1oz) butter
2 tbsp olive oil
400g (14oz) fresh beetroot, peeled and cubed
2 shallots finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
900ml (1-pint 12fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
250g (9oz) risotto rice
125ml (4fl oz) dry vermouth
2 tbsp double cream (optional)
110g (4oz) pecorino, finely grated
3 tbsp chopped parsley
Feta cheese, to serve
Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped beetroot, shallot, garlic and thyme leaves. Cook gently for three minutes until the onion has softened but not browned. Meanwhile heat the stock to simmering point. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat all the grains in the buttery mixture. Cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes until the grains begin to look translucent. Add the vermouth to the pan and allow it to bubble up and reduce slightly. Add a ladleful of the simmering stock and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, as the liquid is absorbed, stirring between each addition. You must stir constantly. Cook until the rice is tender but still has a little bite. It will take at least 20 minutes. Add the cream if you’re using it (it makes the dish richer and a paler colour), the pecorino and parsley.
Taste and adjust the seasoning then serve immediately with Feta cheese crumbled on top.