Having enjoyed pumpkin risotto, made with organic roasted pumpkin, I wanted to try another vegetable, we discovered we like very much in different dishes – an organic beetroot. General view is that the dish is as good as good the ingredients in it are. The saying is especially applicable to risotto. Quality vegetables, stock and good rice influence the taste and texture of any risotto. I used organic beetroot and homemade chicken broth, made with plenty of vegetables to give broth the depth of flavour. Beetroot risotto can be made just with vegetables, but I like to add some speck to give an extra smoky flavour to the dish.
Risotto can be served with beetroot baked chips, but I actually liked it best, when I used roasted sliced almonds, purely to give contrasting colour for photography. Almonds introduced nutty crunch to soft and wet risotto.
Another option for serving – toasted sesame seeds.
- 1 cup risotto rice (I like to cook my risotto with Japanese sushi rice)
- 2 leeks
- 2 organic beetroot
- 1 chilli pepper (medium heat, I used it with seeds)
- piece of smoked speck, or 2-3 slices of smoked bacon
- 2 garlic cloves
- pinch of cumin seeds
- 1 table spoon of olive oil
- 1-2 table spoons of butter (I used butter, infused by cooking with pumpkin seeds)*
- chicken and vegetable stock – 600-700 ml (I used frozen portion)
- sea salt and black pepper for seasoning
* – by using only olive oil instead of its mix with butter, risotto can be made dairy free.
- peel and grate beetroot
- heat the stock in a sauce pan, make sure it will be hot when needed
- heat olive oil and butter in a deep frying pan or low casserole pan, add cumin seeds
- slice leek in semi circles, gently fry it, season with sea salt
- add speck/bacon, cut in strips
- add sliced chilli pepper and garlic
- stir and fry on medium/low heat until leek becomes soft
- add rice, stir and cook on low heat until rice becomes translucent
- add beetroot, stir, season with sea salt and cook for 5 minutes
- start adding very hot stock in small portions, stir risotto at all times
- add next portion of the stock only when the previous one is absorbed
- stop cooking when rice is not fully done, and risotto is a touch runny
- cover the pan with kitchen towel, put the lid over the towel and let risotto rest for 15-20 minutes, I like to cover the pan with extra towels to retain heat for longer
Serve with any decorative topping you like. In terms of adding flavours, nothing is necessary. Beetroot risotto with smoked speck and chilli pepper has an intense mix of flavours and is quite punchy. It is also a very comforting dish with a vibrant colour to delight before you even tried it. This risotto was nice the next day as well, I had it cold and enjoyed it.