This risotto is a wonderful combination of earthy beetroot, salty blue cheese and nutty walnuts. The beetroot dyes the whole dish a beautiful pink colour making it a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place each beetroot onto a piece of foil, drizzle with oil and wrap each individually. Then place them onto a baking tray and into the preheated oven, roast them for 30 minutes until soft and tender.
Whilst the beetroot is roasting you can start the risotto. In a large wide frying pan heat the olive oil and 30g of butter. When the butter is melted and foaming add the finely chopped onions along with a pinch of Maldon salt. Allow the onions to cook over a gently heat until soft and translucent. After they have softened, add the garlic and fry for an additional 2 minutes.
Next add the arborio rice and stir so all the grains are well coated in the onions. Fry for 2 minutes and then add the red wine, allowing the wine to bubble and be absorbed by the rice. Once the wine is absorbed begin adding the hot vegetable stock a ladle at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next. The rice should be tender but still with a little bite.
Once the beetroot has roasted, remove from the oven and unwrap the foil to allow them to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle carefully peel away the skins (you might want to wear gloves for this as they can stain your hands). Once peeled, roughly chop 3 of the beetroot and place in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and pureed. Chop the other two beetroot into a small dice.
Pour the pureed beetroot into the risotto and stir through, it will turn it a brilliant pink colour. Next add the diced beetroot and stir through. Check the seasoning of the risotto and add a generous pinch of Maldon salt and some cracked black pepper. Finally add the 10g butter at the end and melt through to give a creamy and glossy texture.
Divide the risotto among 4 plates and then top with the crumbled blue cheese, toasted walnuts and thyme leaves. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a final sprinkle of Maldon salt.