Beetroot Risotto
Beetroot Risotto
Serves 4 as a main dish
Recipe designed exclusively
by Emily Watkins

Winner with her fish course on BBC Great British Menu 2014

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Beetroot Risotto

Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a starter

The Barley risotto has been around for many years, long before the risotto rice we are perhaps more familiar with today.  I love the flavour of the barley grain and the texture it holds when cooked out in risotto.  

You can do many versions, but this beetroot option bring together two very British and earthy flavours, so well it is one of my personal favourites.  I tend to use a lovely mature hard goats cheese, but you could choose a good parmesan instead if you have it.


For the risotto:

  • 1 onion – finely diced
  • 350g Pearl Barley (or Arborio risotto rice if preferred)
  • 150ml red wine
  • 1 ltr beetroot juice
  • Roasted beetroots – diced
  • 100g diced cold butter
  • Hard goats cheese or a good parmesan for grating


Wash the barley and drain

Heat a large pan with a little oil

Sweat down the onion until tender

Increase the temperature of the pan, add the pearl barley and season

Stir on a high heat until the pearl barley is beginning to cook

Add the red wine, stir until absorbed

Add a laddle of hot beetroot juice, stir until absorbed

Continue to add the beetroot juice, ladle by ladle until the barley is just tender

Stir in the diced butter and add the roasted beets into the risotto (it should be a little runny when this is done)

Season to taste

Leave to stand for 5 minutes until thickened

Pour into bowls and grate generously with goat’s cheese

Serve with a peppery rocket salad