Monday, 1 August 2016

Lemon & garlic risotto with carrot, beetroot & courgette

Mr Vegan Man hit the kitchen again this past week with a view to knocking up something a little bit fancy for WOTVM.  This recipe is another original of ours, and in similar fashion to our previous risotto dish (see our archive) we've added some delicious garnishes to elevate it.  Mr Vegan Man has eaten plenty of risottos over the years as they are a restaurant veggie staple, however he sometimes finds that eating a whole bowl or plate of something that is all the same flavour and texture can get a little monotonous, no matter how delicious it is.  That is why he likes to add a few garnishes to add extra dimensions of flavour and texture when cooking risotto at home.
This is a great summer dish as it's fresh and surprisingly light for a risotto.  One reason for this is it contains no milk or cheese - it's another fully vegan recipe.  It also has a really nice look to it with lots of vibrant colours and would make an excellent dinner party dish.  We hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients (serves 2)
125g Arborio rice
1 small bulb of garlic
1 lemon
1 large courgette
Half medium white onion
250ml prosecco
500-600ml stock
25g pine nuts
1 small carrot
1 cooked beetroot
Few sprigs of dill
Few sprigs of flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp olive oil
0.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
Handful of pea shoots and rocket to garnish

Preparation and cooking time: 60-75 minutes

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C then break up your bulb of garlic, setting aside three cloves.  Toss the rest of the cloves, skin on, in half a tablespoon of olive oil and place in a roasting tin and then put them in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Whilst the garlic cloves are roasting, crush the remaining garlic cloves and finely chop your onion, carrot, beetroot and herbs.  Slice the courgette into think ribbons, just a few millimetres thick, and grate the zest of the lemon.  This is the bulk of your prep done.

Once the garlic cloves are cooked allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing the skins.  Blitz the garlic cloves with a tablespoon of olive oil using a blender or hand blender, or if you don't have a blender just use a bowl and a fork to break the garlic down into a rough paste.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and toast off the pine nuts in the pan, being careful not to burn them.  In a hot pan they will take seconds to toast.  Set aside the pine nuts ready to serve later. 

Swap the frying pan (you will use this later for the risotto so just move it to one side for now) for a griddle and reduce the heat very slightly to a medium high heat.  Brush the pan with a small amount of oil - vegetable oil is fine - and then griddle the courgettes for a couple of minutes each side, just long enough to take on some strips of colour and to soften.  Place the cooked courgettes in a bowl and cover with cling film, this will keep them warm until you serve.  If you want to serve them piping hot you can cook them alongside the risotto and the carrot and beetroot relish but this will necessitate a bit of juggling!

Move the frying pan back on to the heat and reduce to a medium heat.  Place half a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and allow to heat.  Take a medium saucepan and place it on a low heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.  Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan and soften for a few minutes, stirring regularly so that the onion and garlic do not brown or catch on the pan.

Add the rice to the onion and garlic and stir so that all of the grains are covered in the oil and juices from the pan.  Add the prosecco and allow this to be absorbed by the rice, stirring frequently to ensure even cooking.  When it reaches the consistency of a thick rice pudding, add some stock and repeat the process until the grains of rice are cooked.  This will take 20-25 minutes.  Halfway through cooking, add the roasted garlic puree and lemon zest and mix in.

When the risotto has been cooking for 10 minutes, add the diced carrot to the saucepan in which your olive oil has been heating over a low heat and stir so that the chunks are all coated.  Leave to cook on the low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the red wine vinegar and beetroot and mix together, leaving to cook for just a couple more minutes.

Right at the end, when the risotto is just cooked, taste the risotto and if it needs more lemon flavour then squeeze in the juice from the lemon that was zested earlier (add a bit at a time and keep checking to ensure you don't overdo the lemon).  Season the risotto well with salt and black pepper to taste.  Add the chopped parsley and dill to the carrot and beetroot and mix thoroughly and you are ready to serve.

Spoon the risotto into the middle of a plate or large bowl and top with the courgettes then scatter over the pine nuts and the carrot, beetroot and herb mixture.  Garnish with some fresh rocket and pea shoots.

That's it!  A beautiful, fresh and vibrant dinner.  Give it a try and let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below or by sending us an email.

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