Beetroot and Goats' Cheese Risotto

Two bowls of beetroot risotto with goats' cheese garnish

This is my go-to beetroot risotto recipe and I’m sure it originated from the BBC Good Food website but it’s no longer on there so sadly I can’t credit whoever came up with this brilliant and extremely adaptable recipe. Quite a few of the ingredients listed can be left out but the non-negotiables (including beetroot and goats’ cheese, of course) are thyme (dried is fine if you don’t have fresh) and rocket. Beetroot can be quite strong in flavour, especially if you use the kind that’s been pickled in vinegar like I do, and thyme and rocket help to give the dish some balance.

The original recipe used soft goats’ cheese stirred in at the end but I love the kind of goats’ cheese with a rind, grilled until golden and added on top so the risotto stays vibrantly pink.

Feel free to use up any odds and ends of veg as it’s quite a forgiving risotto with beetroot being the dominant flavour. In the version pictured I added a leek and some mushrooms.

A lazy shortcut I use because I’m averse to making up vegetable stock is to add Marigold bouillon stock powder to the pan (about 4 teaspoons) along with the white wine and then gradually add water to the risotto from a freshly boiled kettle, rather than intermittently ladling in stock.

Ingredients

Serves: 4

  • 1.25 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 125ml white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ¼ tsp dried)
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 6 chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
  • 150g goat's cheese with rind (sliced into discs)
  • 150g beetroot (grated or blitzed in a food processor)
  • 1 bag rocket (around 60g)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Small handful parsley (chopped, optional)

Method

  1. Make up 1.25 litres of vegetable stock and put a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the saucepan.
  2. Add 1 chopped onion to the saucepan and fry for around 5 minutes.
  3. Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic to the pan, fry for a few minutes, then add 125ml white white and the leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme.
  4. When the wine starts bubbling add 400g risotto rice to the pan. Fry the dry rice for 1 minute while stirring constantly to gently toast the rice then add around a cup of vegetable stock to the pan. Set a timer for 20 minutes and keep stirring the rice.
  5. Once the rice has absorbed the stock, add some more, about half a cup at a time and keep stirring. 
  6. Once the rice has been cooking for around 10 minutes, add 6 sliced chestnut mushrooms to the pan, stirring and adding more stock whenever the risotto looks dry.
  7. Place 150g goats’ cheese rounds onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and grill for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Start to taste the risotto once it’s been cooking for 16 minutes and if the rice isn’t quite cooked through, cook for a few more minutes.
  9. Once the rice is cooked through, turn the heat down and add 150g grated beetroot, 1 bag of rocket leaves and 1 tablespoon of butter. 
  10. Taste and season with salt and pepper then divide into bowls, top with the goats’ cheese rounds and chopped parsley (if using).

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