Week 15: Cheddar Cheese Risotto

It’s been so long since I made a risotto I’d forgotten why I stopped; but I thought it would be good to give it another go.

Rather than dust of my old ‘blow-out risotto’, I reached for my Nigella Express book.  This recipe uses 1 tbs butter, 1 tbs oil, 2 baby leeks (I could only find adolescent ones in Sainsbury’s, so I made do with them) 300g risotto rice, 125ml white wine, half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 litre hot vegetable stock, 125g Cheddar cheese and some chives.

I had my old faithful grating cheddar in the fridge, but I decided to save it for another day and get something special instead.  I bought some Montgomery Cheddar from Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, which nearly got eaten on the bus home.

After heating the butter and oil in the pan I tossed in the leaks to soften.  I’m not sure what a baby leek is, but they didn’t have one in Sainsbury’s so I bought one big one.

I love leeks!  Once the leeks were soft I stirred in the rice and after a minute or two I added the wine and mustard and kept stirring until the wine was absorbed.

Then came the really boring bit, the bit that reminded me of the other reason I stopped making risotto.  I had to ladle and stir in a litre of hot stock into the rice, only adding the next ladle-full of stock when the last one had been absorbed.  I think the rice got full pretty quickly, because by the end of Nigella’s prescribed 18 minutes, there was still quite a bit of the stock left and I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

I ignored it.  Rather a smaller risotto than a wet one!

I weighed out and cut the Cheddar  into chunks, and stirred it into the risotto for a few minutes until it began to melt and then served it up with a sprinkling of chives (which I mostly sprinkled all over my kitchen)

I liked the taste, but not how it felt in my mouth (as the Actress said to the Bishop).  There’s something about the texture of risotto that makes me feel a little ill, so I probably won’t make this again, but it tasted delicious.  The Montgomery Cheddar has a very strong flavour, whereas the leek and white wine are quite tart, so they really complimented each other.

Maybe I’ll use the flavour combination again in some sort of exotic quiche?

But hurrah!  I finally managed to make something for Cheese, Please!


Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)



  1. Such a lovely, lovely cheese! Perhaps you could chuck in a few mushrooms or something to help break up the texture; I can imagine just cheese (even A-Mazing cheese) could make it a bit puddingy. Bet it tasted great though. Thanks for sharing with Cheese, Please! 🙂

    1. Hi, I think the texture definitely needed breaking up – like with the Penne with Gorgonzola and Walnuts I did in week 5 ( http://wp.me/p42Dr4-s ) it just became tiring to eat – maybe a smaller portion or some salad would have helped? The leeks didn’t really do much for the texture either! It was a pleasure to finally fit in a Cheese, Please!

  2. Hi there.
    The Cheddar sounds very tempting, thank god there is a shop here in Frankfurt that carries Neal’s Yard cheese! What a pity about your risotto-relationship. I love risotto but always have something with it like smoked duckbreast (yeah, on Sundays) or sauteed mushrooms, peas etc. – otherwise the texture might be a bit too much of the porridge kind for some. And a little boring, we need different tastes and textures otherwise it is just “I eat to live”.
    Leek quiche is definitely good, I always make one with leek & smoked salmon but leek & cheddar sounds good. Must try that soon…


    1. I almost wish I’d made half the amount and done a salad with it, just for different texture! Sounds nice with duck breast, I’ll have to give it a try.
      Is Frankfurt good for food shopping?

      1. Exactly what I mean, different textures = more interesting. Frankfurt & the area around it has great farm shops, organic shops and lots of good weekly & daily markets, specialty grocers, fish mongers, butchers. No Waitrose though. I am still livid about Rick Stein’s last program, really bad and I should not get started. N.

      2. I didn’t see it – I don’t tend to watch Rick Stein if I can help it! I’ve got a really good butcher near my house (which is partly why I started learning to cook) but I have to travel around for fish, veg, and speciality ingredients – all the supermarkets here are metro-stores (what I would give for a good Waitrose or a farm shop; can’t always shop at Borough Market!) I bet I sound very lazy haha!

      3. Good for you, we are simulating English TV this way. Nice to have a good butcher and what a shame about the other shops – death of the Highstreet (?) – and that you need to travel far for all the other stuff.

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