If there is anything that epitomises one pan wonders it is the risotto. This risotto is not only going to be rich and creamy, it is going to have that intense sweet, earthy flavour that only beetroot can pull off. 

This isn’t a quick recipe! Your going to have to put the time in. But I can promise you it is going to be well worth it. And who better to teach you about the intricacies of Italian risotto than an English dude that cooks at his dining table in front of a camera! 

 Which Risotto Rice Should I Use?

The most commonly used risotto rice used in the UK is arborio, but personally I like to used carnaroli rice instead.

Carnaroli rice has a higher starch content and firmer texture than arborio, which results in a creamier risotto that is much more difficult to overcook. The grains are also slightly longer and keep their shape better when stirred.

All of this makes for a risotto that’s a lot more forgiving. While arborio can go from al dente to mushy in a matter of seconds, carnaroli holds onto that perfect chew even if you stir it a few too many times past its doneness.

Which is perfect if your making risotto for the first time!

So let’s get down to business!


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INGREDIENTS

To serve:
Red wine vinegar
Soured cream or crème fraîche (optional)
1tbsp fresh dill

For the risotto;
3 beetroot (approx. 450g), diced
500ml white stock
500ml beetroot juice
1tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g risotto rice (carnaroli, arborio)
1tbsp tomato puree
100g white wine. 
40g Parmesan, grated
50g Mascarpone


METHOD

Peel the beetroot and cut into approx. 1cm dice. Place the diced beetroot into the pan with the stock and beetroot juice. Place over a high heat, bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 20 – 25 minutes or until the diced beetroot is tender. Drain the beetroot in a sieve and put to one side, reserve the cooking liquor for the risotto.

Cut the red onion, carrot, and celery into fine dice. Peel and crush the garlic (this can be done with a garlic press). Heat the oil and butter in the pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is foaming then add the finely diced onion, carrot, celery and crushed garlic and cook for approx 5 minutes to soften the vegetables, being careful not to brown them. 

Once the vegetables are soft add the rice to the pan and cook for approx. 2 minutes to toast off the rice. Once the rice has been toasted, turn down the heat and add the tomato puree and cook gently for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let the puree catch and burn on the bottom of the pan. Add the white wine to the rice mixture and reduce the wine down, over a high heat, until completely evaporated.

Gradually add the reserved beetroot stock to the risotto a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly over a medium heat. Don’t add another ladleful until the stock has been almost complete absorbed by the rice. Continue this process of adding the stock a bit at a time and cooking it until it has been absorbed, until the rice is just cooked. It should have a bite but not be chalky and gritty. A bite not a crunch! This whole process of cooking the risotto should take just less than 20 minutes.

Stir in the parmesan and mascarpone and beat well to incorporate it, stir in the cooked diced beetroot, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and red wine vinegar. Spoon the risotto into dishes and finish with a spoonful of sour cream and some freshly chopped dill to serve.


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