HEALTH BENEFITS: Beetroot is low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain a bit of almost all the vitamins and minerals that you need!
With its fabulous colour and earthy flavour, this dish has a beautiful impressive colour, you can keep it simple or add toppings to add flavours. It makes a lovely starter or served alongside your main.
250g fresh beetroot
2 shallots, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
850ml chicken or vegetable stock
35g butter, plus a knob for later
A splash of olive oil
175g risotto rice
80ml white wine
A little fresh thyme (optional)
Juice of ½ lemon
50g The Little Milk Company Cheddar, freshly grated
Salt and black pepper
50g Little Milk Company Organic Cashel Blue, crumbled
1 tbsp mascarpone, cream or creme fraiche
Baby spinach or rocket leaves
A handful of The Little Milk Company Cheddar shavings
2 tbsp sour cream or natural yoghurt
A few walnuts, toasted
½ tbsp horseradish cream
1 Strip the beet of leaves, wash the beetroot, place in a pan and cover with cold water. Boil for about 20 minutes until tender and easily pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool.
2 Put stock into a pan, bring it to the boil then lower to a simmer. Peel the beetroot and blitz it with a blender or food processor adding 4 tablespoons of hot stock to make a thick, smooth puree.
3 Dice the shallots and garlic. Put a second pan on the hob. Add the butter and oil. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 5 minutes, until the onion softens.
4 Tip the unwashed rice into the pan and stir well to coat it. Cook for a minute, stirring. Increase the heat. Add the wine and stir until it's almost absorbed, then immediately add a large ladle of hot stock. Add the thyme, if using. Reduce the heat, so the mix keeps bubbling but doesn't cook too fiercely.
5 Once absorbed, add another ladle of stock and keep stirring. Repeat this step until you have used virtually all the stock and the rice is just about cooked – this takes about 15-20 minutes. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.
6 Stir in two-thirds of the beetroot puree. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the rest of the puree and half the parmesan. Stir in the butter to make it glossy. Taste and adjust.
7 Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave to rest for 3 minutes. Spoon the risotto into shallow bowls and then finish with the remaining parmesan and your choice of toppings