Risotto of Beetroot, Fresh Goat Cheese and Curly Kale

11:07 pm on 2 June 2009

(Serves 4)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: easy

This is a great winter risotto. It is a little different as I don’t use parmesan in the dish, but feel free to use a little if you don’t like goat cheese or would like a wee bit extra oomph. The kale can be substituted by any brassica such as tender stem broccoli, if you not want to deny the sheep their dinner or even a few chopped sprouts!! This risotto is a great accompaniment to roast duck or even fish poached in red wine. For a touch of texture why not sprinkle the risotto with some toasted hazelnuts.


  • 1 large beetroot, peeled & coarsely grated (tip: wear rubber gloves whilst grating the beetroot to save getting pink hands)
  • 4 shallots finely diced
  • 250g risotto rice (Arborio or carnaroli work the best)
  • 100g fresh soft goat cheese
  • 1 bunch of curly kale roughly cut into ½ cm slices
  • 600ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 glass of dry red wine
  • ½ a lemon (optional)


Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan.

In a different medium saucepan fry the diced shallots in the olive oil until soft then add the rice and the grated beetroot. Stir the rice, shallots & beetroot, on the heat for 30 seconds to a minute until the rice starts to catch slightly on the bottom of the pan. This helps release some of the starch out of the rice.

Immediately add the red wine, be careful as this may bubble a lot. Once all the wine has evaporated (you can tell when it has gone when the harsh smell of alcohol has disappeared) start adding the stock cupful by cupful. If you like you can add half the stock now and let it absorb stirring occasionally but you will get the best results from adding the stock gradually and stirring constantly.

Once most of the stock has been absorbed check that the rice is cooked. It should be firm to the bite but not chalky. If chalky add more stock and cook a little longer. The rice should be a beautiful deep purple colour.

Add the kale and stir, then pop a lid on the pan for 2 minutes to let the kale cook. After two minutes stir in the fresh goat cheese.

The risotto should ooze if it has the correct consistency. The risotto can be loosened with a little hot stock if too stiff. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you need to brighten up all the flavours.

John Hawkesby’s wine suggestions

Chenin Blanc
Ken Forrester 2005

Sauvignon Blanc
Triplebank Awatere Valley 2008

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