Veggies can taste incredibly different depending on how they’re prepared, and beetroot is a classic case in point. It can be roasted to let the sugars caramelise into sweet deliciousness; boiled whole and pureed, then whipped into Chocolate Beetroot Muffins or delicious dips; can be grated into Borscht; or paired with apple, coriander and mint for an amazing salad.
In this recipe, beetroot comes into its own with the addition of basil – the oh-so-delicious result of having an abundance of both beetroot and basil at point of harvest in my garden one summer.
Beetroot’s vibrant colour and rich, earthy flavour is enough reason to get to know it better. An added bonus is that it’s full of immune-boosting nutrients and essential minerals, and has blood-purifying qualities as well.
Beetroot Risotto – serves 4-6
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, finely sliced then rinsed (you can substitute one finely diced onion if you prefer)
- 1 large beetroot
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 cups arborio rice
- ¼ cup of white wine or verjuice
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- A handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- A handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Extra fresh herbs, to garnish
Pour the stock into a medium-sized saucepan and heat to a gentle simmer.
Scrub the beetroot, and peel if needed. Dice into 1 cm cubes.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the leek or onion to the large pot, along with the garlic, and sauté gently until the onion has softened. Add the beetroot and cook for a few minutes, taking care not to brown the onion.
Add the rice to the large pot and stir with a wooden spoon until all the rice is coated in oil and is a lovely pink colour. Add the wine or verjuice and stir through.
Use a soup ladle to add a ladleful hot stock to the rice, stirring all the while. As each ladleful of stock absorbs, add another, and continue like this until the rice is tender.
Remove the pan from the heat while there is still a bit of soupy liquid left in the pan, as this will continue to absorb on standing.
Add the cheese, basil and parsley to the risotto and gently mix well to combine. Sprinkle with the extra herbs and serve at once on warmed plates.