beetroot-risotto v to v

With its shocking colour and sound fl avour, this one’s quite the exhibitionist. I love the layers of flavour and texture that the stir-ins and toppings give the risotto here, but keep it nice and simple if that’s how you like it. Serve as a main course, a starter or as a lovely little extra alongside a nice bit of beef or oily fish like salmon or mackerel.


  1. Cut any leaves away from the beetroot, wash them, pop them in a pan and cover with cold water. Boil till tender and easily pierced with a knife – allow 20 minutes for smaller beet. Set aside to cool.
  2. Dice the shallots and garlic with a small sharp knife. Pour the chicken/vegetable stock into a pan, bring it to the boil then lower to a simmer.
  3. Peel the beet. Chop and blitz in a processor with 4 tablespoons of hot stock or use a stick blender to make a thick, smooth purée. Prep your choice of stir-ins/toppings.


  1. Put a second pan on to heat. Add the butter and oil. Once hot, add the shallot and garlic, stirring with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and cook very gently for 5 minutes, till the onion softens.
  2. 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 till it’s almost absorbed, then add a large ladle full of hot stock immediately. Add the thyme, if using.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium so the mix keeps bubbling a bit but doesn’t cook too fiercely as it absorbs the new liquid. Once absorbed, add another ladle of stock and keep stirring.
  4. Repeat until the stock is just about used and the rice is just about cooked (test a grain – the end result wants to be soft but with a tiny bit of texture and the risotto itself should neither be stiff and dry nor wet and soupy), about 15–20 minutes. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  5. Stir in two-thirds of the beetroot purée. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the rest of the purée now (or add later as a topping) plus your choice of stir-ins and half the parmesan. Stir in the butter to make it glossy. Taste and adjust.
  6. Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave to rest for 3 minutes.


  1. Spoon the risotto into warm shallow bowls and finish with the remaining parmesan and your choice of toppings.


From Sam Stern’s Cookery Course for Students in the Kitchen (Quadrille)

Photograph by Chris Terry

Useful Cooking Information


Metric Imperial
10 g½ oz
20 g¾ oz
25 g1 oz
50 g2 oz
75 g3 oz
110 g4 oz
150 g5 oz
175 g6 oz
200 g7 oz
225 g8 oz
250 g9 oz
275 g10 oz
350 g12 oz
450 g1 lb
500 g (½ kg)18 oz
700 g1½ lb
900 g2 lb
1 kg2¼ lb
1.3 kg3 lb
1.8 kg4 lb
2.2 kg5 lb


Metric Imperial
50 ml2 fl oz
75 ml3 fl oz
100 ml3½ fl oz
125 ml4 fl oz
150 ml5 fl oz¼ pint
200 ml7 fl oz
250 ml9 fl oz
300 ml10 fl oz½ pint
425 ml15 fl oz¾ pint
600 ml20 fl oz1 pint
800 ml1½ pint
1 l1¾ pints
1.2 l2 pints
1.5 l2½ pints
1.8 l3 pints
2 l3½ pints


Metric Imperial
5 mm¼ inch
1 cm½ inch
2 cm¾ inch
2.5 cm1 inch
3 cm1¼ inches
4 cm1½ inches
5 cm2 inches
10 cm3 inches
15 cm4 inches
20.5 cm6 inches
23 cm9 inches
25 cm10 inches
30 cm12 inches

Spoon measures - mean level measures unless the recipe says 'heaped'

Eggs - are always large for baking, unless recipe says otherwise

Oven Temperatures

Gas °F °C
Mark 1275140

Fan assisted ovens - remember to reduce temperatures by 20°C

Most Useful US/European Conversions

ButterUS 1 cup / 2 sticks8 oz220 g
SugarUS 1 cup6 oz175 g
FlourUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
LiquidUS 1 cup8 fl oz225 ml
Prepped OnionsUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
Cheese, GratedUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
Diced FruitUS 1 cup5 oz150 g
Fresh BreadcrumbsUS 1 cup2 oz55 g

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