The starting point of this recipe was a forgotten and up until now unused bargain basement cookbook called something along the lines of ‘A Zillion and One Easy To Make Risottos’. I should have been forewarned, for even after the most cursory of scans it was obvious the editor had struggled to fulfil the ambitious promise of the title and as a result has resorted to desperate and unappetising padding culminating in a Chicken Tikka Masala Risotto.
In mitigation, the beetroot recipe herewith was only on the second page, so quite understandably I assumed at this early stage the cookery writer still had some enthusiasm for the project and was laying down some of his/her best tried and tested recipes. Even forgiving the clumsy translation of quantities into folksy American measurements such as the Cup, the Lickety Split*, the Kit and Caboodle, the Hither And Yon, and the imperial Reckoning, it was clear this dish was not going to work. So the following recipe is the result of interpretation, intuition, experience and ironically, quite a lot of reckonin’.
* 1 Lickety Split = 16 Varmints or 3/4 of a Ruination. It is generally considered to be an archaic term which these days is limited to the measurement of Grits, Vittles and Rookus Juice.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Skill level: easy (although needs constant attention)
Serves: 4 for a starter, 2 as a main
- 1 medium red onion – thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot – coursely grated
- 1 medium/large beetroot – coursely grated
- vegetable stock – 750ml
- red wine – 100ml
- butter – big knob
- olive oil – decent splash
- arborio rice – 200g
- sour cream – 2 tbsp (or to taste)
- s & p
- chopped chives – for garnish
Start by mixing up your vegetable stock, pouring it into a saucepan and putting it on the backburner on a gentle simmer.
Next melt the butter with the oil in a large, deep frying pan and gently fry the onion, carrot and beetroot for about 10 minutes until they are just beginning to soften.
Add the rice and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, ensuring that it is thoroughly coated in the vegetable mixture.
Add the red wine and cook gently, stirring, until absorbed.
Add a ladle of stock, and continue cooking and stirring until absorbed.
Repeat this process until all the stock has been used and the rice is creamy and tender with a slight bite in the middle. This should take around 25 minutes.
Taste and season.
Serve immediately with a blob of sour cream (essential) and a few chopped chives (optional – who ever has chives unless from the garden?)
Verdict: A sweet, subtle and spectacularly red dish.
Drink: A Dab, a Meantime and a bottle of Wa’ro red.
Entertainment: The second (and for us the final) episode of BBC One’s sci-fi saga ‘Outcasts’. Dull meets duller … in space.