Begin by making your vegetable stock. Prepare ingredients as noted, by coarsely grating the vegetables you significantly speed up the process. Heat a good glug of oil in a pan then add in your vegetables and herbs and sauté for 5-6 minutes until soft- allowing the onion to sweeten and mellow. Add in the white wine, increasing the heat a little followed by the boiling water, bring to the boil then allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain the stock or pour through a sieve when using in your risotto.
For the risotto begin by adding the olive oil, butter, garlic and onion to a pan and cook over a low heat for around 10 minutes so the onions and garlic soften and begin to turn sweet. Next add in the rice and increase the heat slightly ensuring all sides of the rice are coated in the butter and oil and allow to cook for a minute or two (keep stirring to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the pan).
Next add in the wine and stir, cooking over a medium to low heat again not allowing the rice to stick at all. Once the rice has absorbed the wine you can begin to add in the vegetable stock. Do this in small batches, a ladle at a time. This will take around 12-15 minutes.
TIP – Don’t add the next batch of stock until the rice has absorbed the last.
Make sure you keep checking that the rice still has a bit of a bite to it; you don’t want to overcook it.
For the green pepper and pistachio pesto prepare all ingredients as noted place the green pepper, garlic and pistachio into the food processor with several generous glugs of olive oil, next add in the pecorino and once you have a smooth paste add in the basil at the very last minute, blitz again until smooth. You can also muddle into a paste using a pestle and mortar starting with the harder ingredients first. Have a taste and adjust seasoning or add more oil to loosen the paste if necessary.
Once your risotto rice has absorbed all the stock and has a good consistency to it (you’re aiming for your rice to be slightly al dente and definitely not too sloppy. When you’re ready to serve add in your pesto mix. If you need to add in some extra liquid once you’ve used all your stock to loosen it slightly, hot water will do, adding a small dash at a time.
TIP – Only add in your pesto mix at the very last minute so you retain the vibrant green colour.
For the ganrish -Take a small frying pan and add several glugs of oil, heat and then add in the mint /sage leaves frying for thirty seconds or so. The oil is hot enough when the leaves fizz immediately on adding them. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen towel.
Do the same with the beetroot leaves until wilted and a little crisp.
Serve the risotto with an extra handful of grated Pecorino, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper and a scattering of crispy fried mint/sage and the beetroot leaves. Serve immediately.