I don’t know what it is about me and beetroot. If you asked me what my favourite vegetable was, it wouldn’t be beetroot and I certainly wouldn’t think about using it in a risotto! But the colour in this risotto is so striking, just amazing, I simply can’t resist it. The fennel is the secret weapon, it gives the sweet earthiness of the beetroot a depth of flavour and an unexpected twist. I served the risotto with Cherry, Watercress and Feta Salad which is a fresh crisp salad with great flavours and it also carries similar colours to the risotto. Both recipes come from Waitrose Late Summer Harvest, 2014.
Ingredients: Serves 2-3
1 red onion
1 bunch of Beetroot (or a pack of 4 pre-cooked)
1tbsp olive oil
1tsp fennel seeds
500g hot vegetable stock
125g arborio rice
Feta cheese to sprinkle on top
Chives to garnish
- Dice the onion into small pieces and grate the beetroot.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Remove from heat and add fennel seeds followed by the onion and beetroot. Return pan to the hob and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Stir the rice into the beetroot and onion.
- Add a third of the stock. Cook quickly until the liquid is absorbed, then add the remaining stock and simmer until the rice is cooked and the liquid is all gone. Add extra liquid if the rice has not cooked through.
- Season the risotto.
- Use a food ring or a small bowl to shape the risotto and turn it out onto the plate. Sprinkle the feta and chives on top.
Cherry, Watercress and Feta Salad
1 spring onion
1tsp orange blossom water
1tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp red wine vinegar
2tbsp olive oil
Pinch of caster sugar
70g pack of mixed watercress, rocket, and spinach
- To make dressing, finely chop the spring onion.
- Place in a bowl and add orange blossom water, vinegar, mustard, olive oil and pinch of caster sugar and then whisk together.
- Season to taste.
- Heat pistachios in a dry pan until lightly browned.
- Place rocket in a large shallow bowl.
- Halve and stone the cherries and scatter over the leaves, then crumble the feta on top.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad then scatter with the pistachios.