I have used the leaves from the beetroot in this risotto with the roots roasted seperately. The leaves are similar to silverbeet (Swiss chard) and maintain a little crunch to them after cooking. Roasting the beetroot makes them lovely and sweet (especially with the honey) and gives a nice balance to the more earthy risotto.
When cooking risotto there is no substitute for stirring. Cook the risotto on a gentle heat so it is not bubbling away, and stir gently and constantly. This is the only way of getting the sauce creamy.
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- tbsp butter
- 1 tsp cumin
- 4 sprigs of thyme (sticks discarded)
- 5 handfuls of aborio rice
- 1 liter of water
- The leaves from a large bunch of baby beetroot (discard the stems)
- Salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese
Roast baby beetroot
- The roots from a large bunch of baby beetroot
- Olive oil
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- Finely slice the onions and sweet in the butter in a pot on a medium heat.
- Once the onions have softened, add the garlic, cumin and thyme and mix.
- Add the aborio rice and stir through.
- Boil the water on the side in a separate pot – this allows you to slowly add the water to the rice.
- Once the rice has turned clear start adding a little water while stirring. It is best to stir in a slow constant direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise but not both) as this allows the starch to come out of the rice and make the sauce creamy.
- Once the rice has puffed up and your liquid is draining down, stir in the beetroot leaves and finely grated parmesan
- Place the lid on, take off the heat and wrap up in a tea-towel to finish absorbing and cooking.
- Taste and season.
- Skin your beetroot (unless very fresh) and place in a caserole pot with the oil and salt and place into a preheated oven at 200ºC for 30min to an hour depending on how large your beetroot is. The beetroot is cooked when a knife slides in easily.
- Once cooked, add the vinegar and honey and cook with the lid off the pot for a further 10 minutes.
Spoon the risotto on to plates, top with the caramalised roast beetroot and drizzle over some of the roasting juices.