Last month’s inaugural Recipes for Life challenge eased us in gently with a simple ingredient selection of sausages, onions and tomatoes. This month’s challenge, however, is altogether more tricky. For March, our chosen ingredients are beetroot, carrot and cheese.
Just as a quick recap, the Recipes for Life challenge is a collaboration between super-mum extraordinaire Vanesther from Bangers & Mash and the folks at SWALLOW, a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives. Each month Recipes for Life will be calling for tasty, wholesome and easy-to-cook recipes that revolve around three main ingredients. The best of these recipes will be featured on the cookery courses that SWALLOW run for their members and may even be included in a new charity cookbook to be published later this year.
I must admit that it took me a while to come up with a recipe this month. Beetroot, carrots and cheese are not (to me anyway) a natural triumvirate. But I knew that I wanted to use goat’s cheese as the creaminess works so well with the earthiness of the beetroot. And eventually, after much whirring of brain matter, the idea for this risotto was born.
I am aware that last month’s sausage lasagne was probably not the definition of easy-to-cook so I have tried really hard to ensure that this dish is as simple to prepare as possible. That is why I have plumped for a baked risotto over the traditional stove top method. And because the honey roasted vegetables cook in the oven at the same time as the rice, the most taxing problem you will face is how to remove bright pink beetroot juice from your hands! On that note, cook the carrots and beetroot separately otherwise your carrots will turn a glorious shade of fuchsia.
Roasted Vegetable and Goat’s Cheese Risotto
- 400g beetroot
- 4 large carrots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp thyme leaves (fresh or dried)
- 25g butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 300g risotto rice
- 700ml hot vegetable stock
- 100g soft goat’s cheese
- handful of green leaves (rocket, baby spinach or watercress – optional)
- salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Peel the beetroot and cut into large chunks. Peel the carrots, halve them lengthways and then cut into 5cm chunks.
2. Put the beetroot and carrots in separate ovenproof dishes and mix each with 1tbsp of the oil and honey, some thyme and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Place the dishes in the oven whilst you prepare the rice.
3. Melt the butter in an ovenproof pan or casserole dish and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes until soft. Pour in the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Pour in the hot stock, cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is just cooked. By this time, your vegetables should also be perfectly cooked – soft but still with a little crunch.
4. Crumble the goat’s cheese into the rice and stir until melted. Stir through the green leaves (if using), reserving a few for decoration. Season with pepper. Divide the risotto between 4 bowls and top with the roasted veggies and the reserved green leaves.