Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beetroot & blue cheese risotto

Beetroot and blue cheese risotto / Peedirisoto sinihallitusjuusturisoto
(This recipe was originally posted on January 30, 2007. I've updated the recipe considerably; the photo above is from October 2010).

I first served this kind of risotto at a dinner party in January 2007, right after the smoked salmon and dill tartlets. The inspiration for this dish back then came from Anne's beet risotto with garlic, fava beans and goat cheese and Angelika's beetroot risotto with orange and Gorgonzola (blog no longer available). As I had realised during a beetroot and cheese experiment, I knew I wanted to use a blue cheese in my beetroot risotto instead of goat's cheese. Furthermore, I was looking for a vegetarian risotto, so adding crispy bacon or other meaty garnish was out of the questions. I also wanted the recipe to have a slightly Nordic twist, however defined, so I ended up using a fabulous Finnish blue cheese, Aura.

As far as I can recall, the beetroot and blue cheese risotto was a hit with my guests back in 1997, and it has appeared on our table on several occasions since then. Here's how I've been making it recently. I LOVE how the piquancy of the blue cheese balances out the sweet earthiness of the beetroot. A truly excellent pairing indeed!

Beetroot & blue cheese risotto
(Peedi- ja sinihallitusjuusturisoto)
Serves 6

150 g raw uncooked beetroot
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion or 2 shallots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
300 g risoto rice (I used carnaroli)
100 ml dry white wine
1 litre hot vegetable stock
100 g blue cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh chopped parsley to garnish

Grate the beetroot coarsely.
Heat the vegetable stock in one saucepan, keep it simmering under a lid while you start making risotto.
Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onion and sauté gently for 5-6 minutes, until onion starts to turn translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or to. Make sure not to burn the onions!
Add the rice, stir until rice is glossy with butter. Add the grated beets, sauté for a minute.
Add the wine and stir over moderate heat until reduced by half.
Now start adding the vegetable stock, a ladleful or a few at a time. Keep stirring the rice gently to avoid sticking, or even worse, burning. Only add more stock when most of the previously added stock has been sucked up by the rice.
Risotto is ready, when the rice is cooked, but still al dente - this should take about 20 minutes.
Now stir in crumbled blue cheese, which flavours the risotto and makes it beautifully creamy. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with plenty of fresh parsley and serve.

UPDATE 14.2.2007: Check out these gorgeous beetroot risotto recipes over at Fiordizucca's blog (with feta cheese) and Bea's blog (with parmesan cheese).


Alanna said...

Did I once call you the Beet Princess? Make that the Beet Queen! I did a beet risotto over the weekend: GORGEOUS taste and color.

K & S said...

beautiful colors!

maarja said...

this sounds good! i love the combination. i guess from your page i found muffin recipe with beetroot and blue cheese, those were delicious.

Pene said...

Sounds & looks interesting. Last summer I made a simple meal using couscous & beetroot with some other leftovers vegetables.

It was great to finally meet you in person, Pille, on Sunday. I hope your Robert Burns' dinner was enjoyed by all attendees.

Rach said...

Hi, I love your blog! Your recipes are so interesting!

I thought you or your other fans might be interested in this competition I stumbled upon at the supermarket yesterday for budding food writers.

There's even a £20,000 book contract up for grabs!
I know I can't resist it!

Pille said...

Alanna - I'm blushing now:) There are other candidates to the throne out there - I think Bea, for example, shines much brighter on the beetroot front:)
Will you be writing about your beetroot risotto? Hope so!

K&S - indeed!

Maarja - yes, I made beetroot and blue cheese muffins few months ago. Glad you liked them!

Pene - it was really good to meet you finally, too. K. adored your Anzac cookies - I only managed to eat two!!

Rach - thanks for your kind words. I suspect the Waitrose contest is only open to UK residents, which I am no more. Good luck to you though!

Gitte said...

Sounds interesting and looks amazing, love that color.

Viktoria said...

This dish looks lovely! I feel inspired to do some Nordic cooking..

Pille said...

Gitte- that's a stunning and vibrant colour, isn't it!!

Viktoria, thank you :)