The sweet, earthy flavours of this beetroot risotto are complimented brilliantly by the sharp, salty, herby feta cheese. Easy and impressive!
On the first night of Passover (Pesach) there is a ceremonial meal called the Seder, at which we recount and commemorate the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. There is, inevitably, a selection of symbolic foods, some of which are eaten, and some of which are not. In the centre of the table is the Seder Plate, which contains several of these symbolic foods, including a roasted bone which represents the Passover sacrifice.
Being largely vegetarian, and having a vegan guest at our seder, we decided to forego the bone, and use a roasted beetroot instead. For reasons which are unclear to me, a roasted beetroot seems to be the accepted vegetarian substitute for the bone. Certainly ours generated a small quantity of ‘bloody’ juice in the bottom of its dish. Very sacrificial.
All of which preamble leads me to this recipe. In order to have a single beetroot to roast for the seder plate, I had to buy a whole bunch of beetroots, so there were 5 or 6 left over. And with Pesach now behind us I had to come up with some tasty way of using them up.
Step forward Beetroot risotto! Beetroot risotto is a fabulous dish because not only does it taste amazing, the colour is INCREDIBLE! Somewhere between scarlet and fuchsia, I’d say. Vibrant.
Delicious cheesy topping
This risotto is really delicious, but the herby feta topping is what really makes it stand out. For some reason, Kipper only wanted the risotto part and wouldn’t even try the cheese, despite DH urging her to try it because it was, “really amazing!” I’m probably biased, but I agree with DH. The sharp, salty, herby cheese goes brilliantly with the sweet, earthy deep flavours of the beetroot risotto.
This made enough beetroot risotto for two adults and a small person, with a portion left over for lunch next day. I’d say it was three adult portions, give or take. There was plenty of the yummy feta cheese topping. Scoop any leftover cheese onto a cracker – it’s delish!
Fragrant beetroot risotto with herby feta cheese
For the risotto
- 350-400 g beetroot (approx. 4-5 beets)
- 25 g butter (1 ¾ tbsp)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 150 g arborio rice (¾ cup)
- 500 ml hot vegetable stock (2 ¼ cups)
For the herby feta
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- 150 g feta cheese (1 cup)
To make the risotto
- Peel and grate the beetroot. Heat the butter and oil over a medium heat, add the beetroot and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the crushed garlic, cumin and coriander, and rice, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add around 300ml of the stock, stir well, cover and simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock is absorbed.
- Add the remaining stock, stir again and simmer, covered for another 10 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- (If the rice is still not quite done, add a splash of boiling water and cook for a few more minutes, then test again.)
- Allow to stand for a few moments before serving with the feta cheese.
To make the herby feta cheese
- Combine the chopped herbs, oil, lemon juice and pepper in a bowl. Crumble in the feta cheese and turn gently to mix with the dressing.
- Serve on top of the beetroot risotto.
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