It’s late November, and I’m a bit poorly. No, not man-flu poorly, just aware of things not being quite right and – crucially – my temperature is just above 37.5 which means I’m not allowed to go into work. So I’ve been catching up on some much needed sleep, thrown a lot of balls for Mimi and sent off a proposal for Nathan #7 (coming in 2023). But I’m still cooking, because cooking nearly always makes me feel better, and we also have a fridge full of veggies to use up.
I’ll be honest, it’s not my favourite vegetable to work with. A single lapse of concentration, a lid on the blender that isn’t quite fixed down properly, and your kitchen will look like Hannibal Lecter’s basement. However, Caroline had bought a bag of them for this excellent Nigel Slater recipe here :-
- – and I still had a few to use up. So tonight I made a Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Risotto.
1 Beetroot (small/medium – you really don’t need any more)
100g goat’s cheese
125g risotto rice (variety as you prefer)
1/2 litre light chicken stock
1 small stalk celery
Bottle of prosecco.
Method (for 2)
I cooked this – appropriately to King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King.
1) Heat your oven to 200C. Pour two glasses of the prosecco, one for you and one for the person for whom you cook. If you’re on your own remember to halve the amounts. Except for the prosecco, obviously…
2) Peel and cube your beetroot, wrap in foil with a slug of olive oil, and stick it in the oven.
3) You have a bit of time now, so make a proper soffritto of onion, carrot and celery (I don’t think this one needs garlic) in a mixture of oil and butter. When they’re ready, chuck your rice in and allow the grains to toast. Throw in an additional glass of prosecco. Do not forget to continue drinking the one you’ve poured.
4) Heat the stock up and do the usual risotto thing with it.
5) After about 30 minutes, the beetroot should be suitably softened. Stick it in a blender along with a good measure of stock. MAKE SURE THE COVER IS SECURE. Get ready to blend it. HAVE YOU MADE SURE THE COVER IS SECURE? Good. Blend it to a liquid. Draw sigh of relief that your kitchen has been spared.
6) Add the blended beetroot to your risotto, add half the cheese, and season. Keep it cooking, adding the remainder of the stock as necessary.
7) When it’s almost – but not quite – perfect, stir in a knob of butter, take it off the heat, cover and rest for two minutes.
8) Uncover, give it a good stir, and decant into warm bowls. Tear/dice/scoop (as appropriate) the rest of the goat’s cheese over the top and just stick in the warm oven for a couple of minutes to allow it to melt.
9) Eat and enjoy, with a nice glass/bottle of red to hand.
This takes a bit of prep due to roasting the beetroot, but time it right and you can probably complete this in about one hour, or, as I prefer to say, 1.5 Courts of the Crimson King. It’s a warming, savoury and unctuous autumnal dish.
Happy eating all!