Saturday, 15 January 2011

Three Bean Risotto with a Beetroot & Tomato Salad

We got back from holidays on Sunday, but one suitcase is still missing (thanks BA!). To make it all up, dinners this week have been very tasty. And this particular one that we made on Wednesday, was easy to make too - if you are in the habit of making risottos, roasting beets and pickling onions that is! If not, no worries, detailed instructions follow.

This risotto was inspired by a recipe on Lisa's Kitchen but we stuck to our usual way of making it, and added some leeks and chickpeas. Yum yum!

Serves 4

Three Bean Risotto
1 onion, chopped
1 large leek, white and green parts sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup tinned pinto beans 
1 cup tinned chickpeas
1 cup frozen green beans, chopped 
700 ml vegetable stock 
225g arborio rice 
splash of wine (or Martini Bianco if desperate) 
3 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan-style cheese 
fresh ground salt & black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil (or butter)


Heat the oil in a medium or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes or until they become translucent. Turn down the heat slightly, add the rice and garlic and stir to coat the grains with oil.

Pour in the wine and cook gently for about 2 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan.

Now begin adding the hot vegetable stock, one good ladleful at a time, stirring and waiting each time until the stock has been fully absorbed before adding the next.

After 5 minutes, stir in the leeks and continue the cooking process until most of the stock has been used up.

It should take somewhere between 20-25 minutes. At this point taste the rice and check to see if it is cooked to your preferred texture — the risotto should be al dente, creamy and cooked throughout while holding its shape, but you may want more stock if you prefer your risottos softer.

With the last ladle of stock that you use, stir in the pinto beans, green beans and chickpeas and warm. Once the liquid has been absorbed, remove from heat, stir in the cheese to melt in the warm rice, and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.

Roasted Beetroot & Tomato Salad with Pickled Onions

4 baby unpeeled beetroot, quartered (or 2 medium, chopped)
12 baby plum tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, finely sliced 
2 garlic clove, mashed with salt
handful fresh shredded basil leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar


Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Place the beetroot on a tray in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Add the tomato, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and seasoning and cook for another for 25-30 minutes.

Pickle the red onion in the remaining balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and red wine vinegar.

Arrange beetroot and tomato slices alternately on a plate. Dress with onion and basil leaves.

Mix the pickling juices with garlic and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad.

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