Chef’s note: For this dish we use local sheep milk blue cheese from Pecora Dairy in Robertson. If you cannot find sheep milk blue, you can use gorgonzola.
To prepare the beetroot – cut the stems off about 3cm from the base, rinse, and place into a pot of cold water. Simmer over a medium-high heat until the beetroot flesh can be easily penetrated with a fork. Drain, reserving some liquid, and cool, then peel off the outer skins and discard. Roughly chop the beetroots, then place into a blender. Adding a little reserved cooking liquid, blitz to a purée and set aside.
For the blue cheese sauce – place the milk into a small pot over a medium heat, cut the cheese into chunks and add to the milk. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously until the cheese has melted into the milk and you have a thick, creamy sauce. Set aside.
For the risotto – place the vegetable stock into a small pot over a low heat to warm up. On a separate burner, place the olive oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and stir in the rice, coating it with the oil. Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add 3 ladles of hot vegetable stock to the rice and stir. As the liquid evaporates, add another ladle of stock while stirring continuously. Keep adding stock to the rice, allowing it to absorb and then adding more until the rice is cooked al dente. Add 260g of beetroot purée to the rice and cook, stirring continuously for 5 minutes until you have a loose risotto. Leave the risotto to rest for 2 minutes, then add the cold butter and parmesan cheese. Stir well to combine, then season to taste with sea salt.
To serve – reheat the blue cheese sauce. Divide the risotto into serving bowls, finish with a generous drizzle of sauce and a pinch of sea salt.
300g arborio rice
3 medium beetroots
100g parmesan cheese, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
100ml white wine
1.25L vegetable stock
100ml extra virgin olive oil
blue cheese sauce
150g Pecora Jamberoo Mountain Blue cheese