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I am feeling utterly pants.  Bronchitis sucks.

One of the ways I can tell I’m at death’s door is that I have gone off my food. This is SERIOUS. Only dire circumstances result in me looking at food and going ‘meh’ before shuffling off to stare into space. I’m not even tempted by the thought of a beetroot risotto, normally my comfort food of choice.

Le Pomme is being a star and tonight will make a tempting supper suitable for an invalid.  Even The Boo has taken a break from her usual insistent game that the door be opened and closed at her request, and instead is practicing for the Cat Olympics – Roleying and Artful Draping Across Clean Beds a specialty.

Plus, its raining so much I may have to dig out my ark building plans again.

So I thought you might like this recipe. It works equally well with butternut squash or roast tomatoes too – in fact, you can add pretty much anything at the end.

Enjoy it, and save me a portion for when I’m on the mend.

Oven baked vegetable risotto

  • 500g / 1lb 2oz fresh beetroot
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 300g / 11oz risotto rice
  • 150ml white or rose wine
  • 700ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 4 tbsp sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Sprinkling of chopped dill or chives

Heat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Using kitchen gloves if you don’t want your hands to get stained, trim the beetroots and cut into medium wedges (peel if you wish, or if the skin is particularly marked). Place on a large sheet of foil on a baking tray and toss with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, season, then cook for 1 hour until soft and the edges slightly crimped.

Roast beetroot

Whilst the beets are in the oven, melt the butter with the remaining olive oil in an ovenproof pan with a lid. Add the onion and garlic, then cook over a low heat for 5 minutes until translucent. Stir in the rice until well coated with the butter and oil. Pour over the white wine, and let the mixture bubble away for 5 mins whilst you warm the stock.

Cooked onions

Stir well, then pour over the stock. Stir again, cover and place in the oven. Cook for 35-40 minutes until the rice is soft but retains some bite.

Baked risotto

Once the rice is ready, remove the beetroots from the oven and reserving one wedge per plate for decoration, roughly mash the rest. Stir most of the parmesan and all the beetroot mash through the risotto.

Oven baked risotto

Serve with a spoonful of sour cream, a wedge of roast beetroot and a sprinkling of parmesan and dill or chives to decorate.

Serves 4.

Note: The roasted beetroot is extremely juicy and you may find it easier to avoid splashes by placing the warm beetroot in a plastic bag to mash from the outside! You can then turn the bag inside out to incorporate the beetroot and the juices into the risotto without staining your fingers