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)