Recipe: BEETROOT AND SHEEP’S CHEESE RISOTTO

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. 

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

  1. 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.
  2. When cooked, drain the beetroot and reserve 3 Cups of the cooking liquid.  Cool the beetroot, then peel and finely dice.
  3. Combine the reserved cooking liquid from the beetroot with the vegetable stock in a large pot.  Bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Serves 6

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