FA Student Foodie: risotto to ‘beet’ the winter weather

By Gee Cadoret |

“A simple and comforting autumnal dinner” | Gee Cadoret

As the days get shorter and the nights get darker, we’re likely to long for PJs and a quick microwave meal after uni more than anything else. For those of you who crinkled your nose at “microwave” and feel the need for a simple and comforting autumnal dinner, this recipe may do the trick. A little bit of ‘hygge’ in a bowl, my beetroot risotto is quick, affordable, and easily interchangeable with any bits you might need to use up in your fridge (such as veggies or chicken). 

Ingredients:

4 beetroots, diced small

1 medium-sized red onion, diced small (white onion will also do)

2 crushed garlic cloves

1-2 handfuls of curly kale, leaves torn off the woody stems

500ml vegetable stock

Half bag of arborio risotto rice 

2 tsp dried thyme

Half tsp chilli flakes (optional)

1 tbsp olive oil/coconut oil

Splash of red or white wine (if you’re feeling fancy)

Juice of half a lemon

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Goats cheese – or any cheese you like – to top 

Beetroot | Gee Cadoret

Method:

Heat the oil over a low heat in a saucepan and add the onions, thyme and pepper. The aim is to get the onions to caramelise, and this needs to be done slowly, so keep an eye on them and stir occasionally to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. (If it looks like they’re getting too dry, add splashes of water from a boiled kettle accordingly.)

As the onions become translucent and soft, add the balsamic vinegar and continue to let them soften until sticky (think jam). 

Next, turn the hob up to a medium heat before adding the beetroot and kale. Stir, ensuring the onions and seasoning coats the veg. Keep stirring gently until the kale begins to soften.

Then pour the risotto rice into the saucepan and stir again, making sure everything is well integrated. 

Stir, stir, and stir a little more… | Gee Cadoret

Begin to add the stock gradually, pour some in and then stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid, then add a little more.

Repeat this until you’ve finished the stock. You should be left with quite a loose mixture; season with salt and more pepper and add a splash of wine (optional) and the lemon juice.

Stir occasionally, making sure the bottom doesn’t stick to the pan, and nibbling the rice every few minutes to see if it is cooked through. 

Once the rice is cooked, I sometimes grate some parmesan through the whole risotto, but nutritional yeast also works well.

Serve when you have a porridge-like consistency. I like to top mine with goats cheese and basil – bon ap! 

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