Will you look at that gorgeous colour of my roasted beetroot risotto? ❤️
It’s a recipe I’ve been working on since 2014, and while I’m very much aware of the fact that anyone can claim anything on the Internet… This one really is true. I’m very lucky and my children all love beetroot (and so does Prince Louis – basically twinning, ha!), so the testing hasn’t been too terrible on us.
My royal obsession aside, this is a really great meal. Vegetarian if you use veg-friendly cheese and vegetable stock! And with the most beautiful look. The beetroot roasts in the oven as you cook the risotto on the stove, and then all that’s left to do are a few finishing touches and your dinner is ready to be devoured.
Here’s a good song while you make this recipe:
If you’re a fan of the Ocean’s movies, you’ll already know this one… But it is one of my favourite Italian songs, and it instantly makes me feel like I’m on holiday. A must-listen for any risotto situation 😉
Now let’s roast some beetroot ❤️
First, you’re going to have to prep the beetroot. Cut it fairly small; if the chunks are too large you’ll have regrets all night long.
I just chuck the cubed beetroot on a lined baking dish with the red onion, garlic, thyme and seasoning; toss, seal and throw in the oven. Veg prep: Done.
Once those jewels are roasting, we’re ready for the risotto!
Risotto is made from simple ingredients… But it’s a labour of love nonetheless. First the slow sweating of a chopped onion. Add some garlic. Sweat the rice. It’s important to sauté the rice for a few minutes, but do stick to medium heat. I once tried making risotto in a hurry and ended up with a pot of burnt rice. Don’t do it.
Finally, deglaze with wine. This is the posh way of saying “pour wine into the pot and scrape any browned bits off the bottom”. A little poshness never hurts, right?
And then the long and slow cooking begins: Keep the stock hot in a small saucepan on the hob next to your risotto pan. Add a ladleful of stock, stir well, and then let the risotto simmer over medium heat. Stir often. Stir once more. And when the rice looks thirsty enough (don’t let it get too thirsty or it will start sticking and crisping up at the bottom!), add another ladle of stock, stir, rinse, repeat until your rice is done.
The secret to a strong finish when it comes to risotto:
Now here’s the tricky thing about risotto: You do not want to cook mushy rice. You want to cook al dente rice in a creamy, starchy sauce – it should “run away” and spread on a plate, without developing a watery edge. Cook this risotto particularly saucy, as you’ll then add about 3/4 of the beetroot chunks. They will add some unexpected volume and you’ll need enough starchy “sauce” to coat them in. Otherwise, the risotto could feel stodgy.
Now I’ve found the only way to get a good colour on your rice is to mash a few tablespoons of the roasted beetroot with a fork before stirring it in with the rest left in chunks – it’s a tad more work but absolutely worth the deeper hue of red.
As a finishing touch, I add freshly grated pecorino cheese. And butter, of course. I once watched a Heston Blumenthal programme in which someone taught him to let the cheese and butter sit nestled on top of the cooked rice with a lid on for a couple of minutes before stirring really well. So now, that’s what I do, too – if only for the gorgeous photos of melted butter.
Then, serve it up right away, or thew rice will continue cooking in the residual heat. I add a few finishing touches – the remaining beetroot chunks, some extra fresh thyme, a few toasted walnuts… And creamy goat’s cheese, of course.
There’s no better treat than a rich risotto cooked with plenty of love, if you ask me. A royally delicious meal for a romantic night in – definitely to be followed by a pot of Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse.
Balsamic Roasted Beetroot Risotto with Goat’s Cheese
For the beetroot:
- 500 g raw beetroots, peeled and cut into small cubes (1 pound)
- 2 red onions (peeled and cut into cubes)
- 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a few sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the risotto:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted garlic granules (alternatively, use 1 minced clove fresh garlic)
- 250 g risotto rice (1 1/4 cups)
- 2 sprigs thyme (leaves only)
- 200 ml red wine (3/4 cup)
- 750 ml stock (vegetable or chicken both work well, heated in a saucepan (3 cups))
- 80 g grated pecorino cheese (OR parmesan if Pecorino isn't available (3oz))
- 50 g cold butter (cubed (2 tablespoons))
- Fresh goat’s cheese (toasted walnuts, fresh thyme, black pepper)
Roast the beetroot:
- Heat oven to 200°F (400°F or Gas 6). Place a double layer of kitchen foil on a baking tray and place the beetroot, red onion and garlic in the middle. Fold up the sides of the foil, then toss the beetroot with olive oil, salt and pepper. Nestle the thyme between the vegetables, then fold the foil over the beets and seal to create a package.
- Bake in the hot oven for around 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, open and carefully stir in the balamic vinegar, then return to the oven and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes at 220°C (425°F).
Make the risotto:
- About 25 minutes before the beetroot is done, start cooking the risotto: Heat the olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat, then add the onion and cook until soft, stirring often. Add the garlic, then season with salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.
- Stir in the rice and thyme and cook until the rice looks translucent. Pour in the red wine, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring, until the wine has evaporated.
- Add a ladle of stock, then stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Continue cooking this way, adding one ladle of broth at a time, until the rice is just cooked to al dente and coated in a creamy sauce.
Finish and serve:
- Take the risotto off the heat, then stir through about 3/4 of the roasted beetroot chunks and onion (roughly mash a few tablespoons with a fork for a better colour; I also mash the roasted garlic cloves and stir them into the rice). Placed the pecorino cheese and cubed butter on top of the rice and push gently down. Cover with a lid and let sit for 2 minutes, then open, stir and serve with remaining beetroot, additional fresh thyme, toasted walnuts, goat's cheese and black pepper.