Tuesday, September 06, 2005

You asked for it

We love beetroot in this house. I make beetroot chocolate cake and beetroot dip, but the all-time favorite is beetroot risotto. My son calls it Red Rice, and has eaten it happily since he was old enough to chew. I've been promising to share this recipe for years, so I might as well do it now.

[Apologies for the photo -- this is of the leftovers, straight out of the fridge. It should be taken when served, when the red is really red and the green of the peas is irridescent in direct opposition, and the yellow melting cheese adds a psychedelic touch. It's a dramatic dish for a dinner party. Mind you, it's all wasted on Best Beloved, who is red-green colour blind. He just likes the taste.]


This can be a vegetarian dish, made with vegetable stock, or a meaty dish using chicken stock. Other meaty options are [1] using chicken breast chunks, added with the onion, [2] using chopped-up bacon (again adding with the onion), or [3] grilling crisp wafers of prosciutto to serve on top when you add the extra cheese.

1 bunch of beetroot, preferably not too big, peeled & diced into 1cm blocks
5-6 cups of stock
2 tbspns olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 1/3 cups Arborio rice
1 cup green peas, either fresh or frozen (defrost entirely)
Boiling water in the kettle, on hand
30g butter
125g grated parmesan cheese

optional extras as listed above.

1. Cook diced beetroot in stock until just tender (about 20 mins). Strain stock (I just use a slotted spoon to fish out the beetroot) and bring back to a simmer.

2. Lightly caramelise the onion in the oil in a med/large heavy-based pan over med/low heat for 12 or so minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent burning.

3. Add rice and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes (this 'opens' the grains to absorb more stock). Turn the heat down a touch. Ladle the hot stock into the rice a little at a time, stirring until absorbed.

4. Continue adding the stock and stirring. Only add stock when all the liquid is absorbed. From the moment the first stock is added until 'al dente' is around 20 mins. 3/4 of the way through, add the beetroot and peas. If you run out of stock, add little amounts of boiling water.

5. When the rice is 'al dente', remove from heat. Add butter, 4 tbspns of parmesan and cover with a tight lid for 5 mins.

6. Serve with the rest of the cheese sprinkled on top, salt & pepper to taste, with a salad and crusty bread.



Mummy/Crit said...

Woohoo. sounds fab, now just have to see if D'Arcy will eat it - vegephobic 4 year old.

Anonymous said...

Ta moochly, Mistress Ducky.

Ampersand Duck said...

for a vegephobe, I'd be grating the beetroot!

Anonymous said...

So red! Looks lovely.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...


the redness!

crikey that's so intense against the black page... I'd really love to see a 'fresh' photo with the peas and cheese effect. make it again sometime soon, please?

Mummy/Crit said...

Good plan, with the beetroot grating, ta - i might even whizz it....I'm hoping to do this tomorrow. Rumour has it that he will eat borshcht, so here's hoping...