Tuesday 13 April 2010

April 2003 - Beetroot Risotto with Goat's Cheese and Walnuts

Jamie Oliver's Chocolate Fridge Cake looks glorious on the cover of issue #15 doesn't it? It would have been nice to make it but after all the chocolate from the chocolate caramel tart last month I think that it is time to give chocolate a rest for a while. There are quite a lot of chocolate recipes and various other cakes and desserts in this issue. Most have an Easter theme to them, which is not surprising really. I have already made hot cross buns so I think that fulfilled my Easter cooking quota.

There are also a number of lovely features in this issue. One from Maggie Beer that featured some great recipes like a chunky potato salad or a very interesting braised green olives with roasted almonds. It is a shame that I am not particularly fond of green olives. I love black ones but the green ones always seem a bit bitter to me.

The feature from Bill Granger and Ben O'Donoghue includes a terrific looking roasted loin of pork and lovely glazed oven-roasted vegetables. I considered doing the vegetables but the dutch carrots were a bit limp and blah looking so I decided to do something else. I then considered Ian Parmenter's Moussaka recipe. I really enjoy moussaka It is a lovely combination of flavours, really a lasagne with eggplant instead of noodles. The problem with moussaka is that it makes so much and I find that it doesn't freeze as well as lasagne. I think that the eggplant tends to disintegrate when frozen so I would prefer to make it when I have people over for dinner so that I am not eating it for the next week.

The a - z ingredients this month is pumpkin. There is a lovely pumpkin soup recipe with a pumpkin seed pesto that sounded really interesting. However it was a bit warm to be making soup. The pumpkin & tomato curry looks terrific and I have to admit that I didn't really notice it before. Perhaps the rather large ingredient list made me skim over it without looking at it too hard. Looking at it now I have most of the ingredients already, I may come back to that one at some stage. There is also a very nice looking pumpkin pie recipe. I love pumpkin pie but I love my mum's recipe for pumpkin pie which uses evaporated milk in the filling. This recipe is full of large amounts of cream and I think that it would just be a bit too rich for me at the moment.

In the end I decided to break with what I have said before and make something that I have already made before. In fact I have made it several times before, only once strictly following the recipe. Valli Little's Beetroot Risotto with Goat's Cheese and Walnuts that is part of the regular Tuesday Night Cooking section is a wonderful recipe with one exception. The exception is the "short cut" of using tinned baby beetroot. The first time I made this recipe I had some cooked beetroot that needed to be used up so I used those in it and I had a glorious meal that had the lovely earthy flavour of the beetroot together with the creaminess of the goat's cheese. The next time I made it beetroot was out of season so I used some tinned beetroot and I found it to be rather unpleasant, sweet and vinegary and the lovely, expensive, goat's cheese was smothered. I think that if I had made it this way the first time around I never would have come back to it. However knowing how good it was the first time around I have continued to make it.

For the beetroot I use 4 small-medium or 2 large that have been rubbed with garlic olive oil and oven roasted until soft, which takes about an hour at 180 C. It is best to turn them a during cooking too. It is then chopped into a small dice. I use a litre of vegetable stock and add the beetroot before adding the last ladle of stock so that it has some time to colour the risotto to the beautiful deep burgundy. I tend to toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 - 7 minutes, as I think that they taste better toasted. This time I used a goat's cheese in ash that was terrific and I think added a little bit of extra tang that my regular goat's cheese doesn't have. I would highly recommend this meal to anyone and even though it is a risotto and you have to stand there and stir for 20 minutes it is a relatively quick and easy meal to make. I normally roast the beetroot and peel it a day or two before I want to make this dish so that it is quicker on the actual day.

Beetroot risotto with goats cheese and walnuts

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