You can serve this as you would any risotto – with grated pecorino or parmesan on the side – but I like a subtler cheese, and since it isn’t strictly Italian I think it’s alright to use something unexpected. Crumbly Lancashire is perfect.
|2 tbsp olive oil|
|400g cooked beetroot, chopped into cubes|
|2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped|
|2 garlic cloves, finely chopped|
|Leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme|
|900ml chicken stock|
|250g risotto rice|
|125ml dry vermouth|
|2 tbsp double cream (optional)|
|110g pecorino, grated|
|small handful fresh parsley, chopped (about 3 tbsp)|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|Lancashire cheese, grated|
What to do:
- Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped beetroot, shallots, garlic and thyme leaves. Cook gently for 3 minutes until the onion has softened, but hasn’t coloured.
- Heat the stock to simmering point.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat all the grains in the buttery mixture. Cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes until the grains begin to look translucent.
- Add the vermouth to the pan and allow it to bubble up and reduce slightly. Add a ladleful of the simmering stock, and stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, as the liquid is absorbed, stirring between each addition. You have to stir constantly.
- Cook the rice until the grains are tender but still have a little bite. It will take at least 20 minutes.
- This risotto really does need quite a lot of salt but if you’ve used good home-made stock the dish should already be quite salty. Add the cream if you’re using it (it makes the dish richer and also a paler colour so it’s up to you whether you want it at all), the pecorino and parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.