Beetroot is exceptionally nutritious (and delicious!) and full of antioxidants. Beets are also an excellent source of folic acid, manganese and potassium. Practising my my ‘no-waste’ mantra, this recipe uses the entire beetroot vegetable; beet leaves are rich in calcium, iron as well as vitamins A and C, and taste similar to spinach.
Serves 4 / Cooking Time: 1hr 35 minutes
500g beetroot (peeled)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
730ml good quality vegetable stock
30g unsalted butter
1 white onion (finely chopped)
3 gloves of garlic (finely chopped)
250g Arborio risotto rice
125ml white wine
100g beet leaves (chopped)
4 tbsp pecorino (finely grated)
1. Preheat your oven to 190C. Halve the beetroots (if large) and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with a sheet of foil and roast for about 50 minutes, until a tender when prodded with a fork. Remove from the oven to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut into 1cm cubes.
2. Place about 1/3 of the cubed beetroot in a blender with 30ml of stock and whizz until pureed.
3. Next put the butter and vegetable oil in a saucepan on a high heat and toss in the onions and garlic. Turn down the heat and let them simmer and sweat for about 5 minutes until they have softened.
4. Next add the rice and stir to coat all the grains in the onions and garlic. Next add the wine and stir again.
5. Then add a ladle of stock, stirring until all absorbed. Add ladle by ladle until you have used all the stock and keep stirring for about 15 minutes. Then add the rest of the beet leaves, beetroot cubes and the puree and cook – stirring constantly so the bottom doesn’t burn – for about 2 minutes.
6. Take off the heat and stir in 2 spoons of the pecorino cheese. Divide between 4 bowls and dust with the remaining grated pecorino and lots of ground black pepper.