Salt Baked Beetroots, Beetroot top Risotto, Balsamic Vinegar and Pecorino

Getting the most out of one of Britain’s best vegetables

A friend of mine talked passionately about a beetroot risotto. I had to make it and I had to make it the best i could.

Over the years I’ve salt baked many things from vegetables to fish. It really is worth doing if you have the time but the dish would work just as well if you roast or Blanche the beetroots instead.

Serves 2

For the salt baked beetroots

1 bunch beetroots (tops removed but retained for later)

3 egg whites

700g table salt

200g plain flour

Lightly whip the egg whites and mix the other ingredients into a dough. Add a splash of water if necessary. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180oc for approx 40 minutes. Once out of the oven, break the crust and remove. Peel the beets and keep warm.


For the risotto

1 red onion (fine diced)

2 cloves of garlic (fine diced)

200g arborio rice

beetroot tops (fine sliced)

splash of red wine

approx 1 pint of beef stock (or veggie stock) – hot in a separate pan.

Making a risotto should be one of life’s great pleasures. It is for me. Start by frying off the onion, garlic and beetroot tops in a little oil or butter. Once softened add the rice and then the red wine. Slowly add the beef stock moving the rice all the time. Every time the liquid evaporates add more stock. Cook until the rice is cooked but has just a little bite. Usually approx 2o minutes.

To finish the dish

good splash of balsamic vinegar

sprinkling of good quality course salt

about 1tsp of chopped dill

grated pecorino (its worth getting hold of some as it adds a lovely nutty flavour)

Chop the salt baked beetroots into small chunks and dress with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Grate a little pecorino into the risotto and check that it has the consistency of lava oozing. If it doesn’t make amendments and then serve with the beetroots on top of the risotto. Grate more pecorino onto the top and enjoy.


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