When I saw the vibrant photos of this dish in Denis Cotter’s new book, I knew two things. I was going to have to sneak the book into the house past cook book customs, and then I’d have to make it.
The first of the broad beans are hitting the shelves in the UK right now, but it seems that whenever I go shopping someone has been in moments before and cleared the shelves. Swines. Even so, this tasted good even using frozen broad beans, but I expect if they’re fresh it’ll be even more delightful. We didn’t plan any for the allotment this year but now the weeds have been cleared we’ll have space next year.
For a weekday evening it can be a long dish to make if you get home at the hour I do, so you can make boil & peel the beetroot the night before which means you just have to roast it whilst chopping the onion/shallots and garlic for the risotto. Don’t lose track of time like I did the first time, and leave the boiling of the broad beans to the last minute. It takes a while to peel the blighters, and even though you may be tempted not to, it’s well worth the effort.
100ml olive oil
Grated zest & juice of half a lemon
2 fennel leaves finely chopped (you’ll find enough on a supermarket bulb of fennel)
250g beetroots (I used 3)
2tbsp olive oil
150g risotto rice
Small onion or a few shallots
2 garlic cloves
125ml red wine
30g butter (a large knob)
100g broad beans
60g goats cheese, crumbled
600ml vegetable stock (about that, if you need more just add some hot water)
Make the lemon-fennel oil: put all the ingredients in a jug or jar and shake or whisk thoroughly.
Boil the beetroot for 30-40 mins. Test the biggest one for tenderness by poking it with a knife. When tender, drain, peel by rubbing the skins under running cold water. They should just slip off in your hands. This also stops the beetroot making your hands look like they’ve been murdering, and keeps your chopping boards pristine. At least until the next bit.
Chop the beetroot into 1cm sized chunks, place in a roasting tin and toss with the olive oil. Roast in a preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes.
Remove half of the beets from the oven and add to the stock and blend. Denis recommends you sieve it, but it works well without so it’s not worth the hassle in my opinion. Return the rest of the beets to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes or so until they caramelise.
Meanwhile, start the risotto by heating 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion/shallots and garlic for 5 mins. Then add the rice and cook for a further 5mins stirring often. Then add the red wine, and avoid scalding your hands from the busy fizz as it hits the pan. Stir now and again to avoid it sticking and start adding the beetroot stock a little at a time until it’s absorbed. This should take about 20 minutes.
Get the broad beans going in a small pan for about 5 minutes. The skins should puff up a bit and look pale when they’re done. Then peel the skins off, place in a bowl and add 1 tbsp of the lemon-fennel oil.
When the rice is done add the roasted beetroot and butter and stir.
To serve add a few spoonfuls of risotto to warmed bowls, drizzle the lemon-fennel oil around and scatter broad beans and goats cheese over.
It’s probably the most gorgeous risotto I’ve ever seen.