With an empty fridge and our hometown in lock-down, I needed to place a food order for delivery, and quick. Armed with bank card, I sat at my computer and investigated the various options and set upon a surprise organic vegetable box from Fresh Organic.
The box arrived with a beautiful array of seasonal vegetables and a complimentary bag of nuts; hard, ovoidal, tan coloured nuts with speckled black markings towards one end. Pecan nuts. What a treat! I’ve never seen pecans in their shells before. As I made my way through the bag of pecans, I had a think about all the things I was going to make with the rest of the produce in the box.
I gave Mum some of the leafy greens to add to a hearty minestrone soup for a winter’s evening and whilst I sautéed some of the kale to accompany my mid-week beef pie, I mulled with the idea of a beetroot risotto with chard for later on in the week or even as a meat-free Monday dish.
Buttery, creamy, cheesy and satisfying; there is something very comforting about eating but also cooking risotto. Whether it’s the continuous, no-stress-stirring, or the idea that butter and cheese will undoubtedly make it better seems to give me great solace.
I love beetroot. Dense, bluntly sweet and with more than a hint of the garden shed in its flavour. Needing cooking for ages and a habit of staining fingers (easily comes off by doing the washing up) bleeding over anything it touches. If you have them, I suggest you peel its outer skin wearing gloves, chop the beetroot into chunks, wrap in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and roast in the oven for 20/30mins until soft (you can also boil raw beetroot like a potato but boil whole and peel once cooled.)
The beetroot’s rich, earthy taste pairs well with sour or salty flavours – such as goat’s cheese and horseradish sauce.
Whilst this is in the oven, prepare a vegetable risotto using any recipe you are familiar with or click on the following link to my mushroom risotto leaving out the mushrooms and the truffle oil. Use approx 300g of arborio rice to 1 litre of stock for 2 people.
Risotto is comfort food at its best!
Once the risotto is ready allow to sit for a few minutes, giving you time to puree the beetroot in a processor. Pour the puce puree into the pale-white risotto and stir until everything is shockingly crimson. Stir in a few beetroot leaves/chard/spinach to wilt in the residual heat.
Serve with parmesan shavings, a drizzle of olive oil and small dollops of spiky horseradish sauce.
Oh and make some beetroot arancini with any leftovers!