This is a rich and creamy risotto, ideal for café or home. It is a delicious and colourful side with a well-balanced flavor that complements many dishes. We often serve it as a main course, leaving out the sheep’s cheese and topping with pan-roasted salmon fillet and a horseradish dressing.
We used the Blue River vintage sheep’s feta in our trials and found that it complemented the flavours well. However, we also got great results using a soft goat’s cheese.
There are a few serving options, depending on your meal choices. It can have a harder cheese grated over top and a drizzle of olive oil. The beautiful, rich colour of the risotto also lends itself to serving simply with steamed asparagus or other greens.
- 4 large beetroot, trimmed and scrubbed
- 1 litre good vegetable stock (this is an approximate quantity – you may need slightly more or less)
- 50g dairy-free margarine
- 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Cups Arborio rice
- 1½ Cups dry white wine
- 1/3 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 150g vintage sheep’s feta
- Optional: Sheep’s pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil to serve
- Boil the beetroot whole in plenty of salted water, until cooked through. This will take up to an hour, depending on the size of the beetroot.
- When cooked, drain the beetroot and reserve 3 Cups of the cooking liquid. Cool the beetroot, then peel and finely dice.
- Combine the reserved cooking liquid from the beetroot with the vegetable stock in a large pot. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Place a large, heavy-based risotto pan over a low to medium heat. Melt the margarine into the olive oil. Gently sauté the onion, celery and garlic until translucent. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat well with the margarine and oil. Stir in the wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes until the wine is almost evaporated.
- Add the hot stock, one ladle-full at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is evaporated before adding the next ladle-full. Your risotto should maintain a constant, rapid simmer throughout.
- After 10 minutes, add the diced beetroot, and continue adding the stock ladle by ladle as before. Continue in this way for about another 8-10 minutes, until the rice is al dente and has a consistency similar to a wet porridge.
- Stir in the lemon juice. Taste the risotto and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Stir through the sheep’s feta and pour into a serving dish. To serve, grate a little sheep’s pecorino, or hard cheese of your choice, over the risotto and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil if desired.