Beetroot and Tomato Risotto with Parmesan Cheese

  • 50g (2oz) butter

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 400g (14oz) risotto rice

  • 3 medium beetroot, cooked, peeled and finely diced

  • 6 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped

  • 1.2 litres (2pt) chicken or vegetable stock, plus a little extra

  • 2 good sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped

  • 150g (5oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese or any other good strong-flavoured cheese

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Chicken livers (optional)

Heat the butter in a large, (if possible wide) pan. Add the onion and cook gently, so it does not brown, until very soft (takes about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a simmer in a pan and leave it over a low heat. Add the rice to the onions and stir. Add the cooked beetroot, half of the tomatoes and a couple of ladles of the simmering stock. Stir well, keeping the rice at a steady simmer, letting each ladleful be absorbed before you add the next. Stir in the remaining tomatoes and keep adding the stock until the rice is cooked but still slightly al dente (with a little bite). You may need a little more stock to keep the rice moist. Remove from the heat. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the parsley and stir in the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon the risotto onto warmed plates and scatter over the extra parsley and (optional) fried chicken livers.

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