Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Study in Pink

Advance warning: This is the most literary-related risotto recipe ever. It's also amazing and you should make it. Just don't blame me if you just can't handle the awesome that is PINK RISOTTO with roasted beetroot and butternut squash. Yes, I said pink risotto. Keep reading.

Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 bunch raw beetroot 
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 large onions (or 1 onion and 1 leek, if you fancy)
- large handful French beans - approx 150g
- 300g/12oz arborio risotto rice
- 2 glasses white wine
- 1500ml vegetable stock
- 10-12 sage leaves
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 125g block soft goats' cheese
- salt and pepper

1. Start by peeling the squash and beetroot. Chop the squash into small-ish chunks and the beetroot into slices, then peel and finely chop three of the garlic cloves. Put into an oven dish and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and five of the thyme sprigs (the only way I've ever been able to do fresh thyme is to pick the leaves off a few at a time, which is very annoying, but always worth it.). Also, be aware that after peeling and chopping the beetroot you WILL feel like Lady Macbeth:

'Out damned spot! Out, I say! ... What! Will these hands ne'er be clean?'
2. Stick into a preheated oven at 180°C for 45-60 minutes, taking out every 15 minutes to stir. And while those are roasting, you can start your basic risotto - olive oil in a large pan, melt some butter, chop onions and the remaining garlic and add, and then cook for approx 5 minutes until soft and starting to colour slightly. Add the French beans (topped, tailed and halved) and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add the risotto rice and stir to coat, then tip in the wine and let it bubble and reduce down for a few minutes. Begin adding the stock, about a ladle-full at a time, and stir LOTS. The stock-adding process should be finished at about the same time the roasting vegetables are.

4. When the stock is all added and the vegetables are done, add them to the pan. Stir in, then season, chop the sage and the rest of the thyme and add that too. Then add the whole block of goats' cheese. Yes, all of it. Trust me. While you're doing this the hob should be on a low heat, and you should still be stirring lots. Your risotto will then make the transition...

...and become pretty in pink.

5. When all the cheese is mixed in and there are no white streaks, serve to your impressed and astonished housemates. Also, the more you stir it the pinker it will get. Garnish with a couple more sprigs of thyme for prettiness, and enjoy. It's particularly good served with garlic bread.

Yes of course we have a sunflower in a Champagne bottle - doesn't every student house?
 Ps. Zosia would like me to add that she is alive and will post again soon, but that life is very crazy and at the moment she doesn't have time to cook and only has time to eat my food. She didn't say that last bit, but it's totally true. I should start charging.

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