Friday 3 February 2012

Blue Cheese Risotto

A kind friend gave me 3 boxes of this cheese for Christmas.

How great is that? 

Blue cheese is an extra special treat for us so I wanted to make sure that I made the most of every single ounce.   I served it with tart apple slices and home baked multigrain crisps, mixed it into a compound butter to enjoy with steak, and melted it into risotto.

Risotto is an excellent means of stretching a comparatively small quantity of a favourite ingredient into several servings.  Just as the flavour of the pasta in macaroni and cheese seems to meld with the cheese, the rice in risotto provides a neutral vehicle for stronger flavours.   By crumbling one of my pieces of blue cheese and melting it into a risotto, I was able to take a quantity of cheese that would, on its own, feed two or three people and turn it into a satisfying dish that serves six.  Kitchen alchemy at its best!

I’ve always made blue cheese risotto with chicken stock, but for Meatless Monday this week I used vegetable stock.  I prefer the flavour of the chicken stock, so that’s what I’ve shown here.

I was out of homemade chicken stock so I used stock in a box this time.  Even with boxed stock, my risotto turned out just fine.

To make blue cheese risotto, you’ll need:

  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (not pictured)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup of Arborio rice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Chicken stock (I started out with the box shown here—about 1 quart—but ended up needing almost 2 cups more)
  • 175 grams (6.17 ounces) of blue cheese 

Pour the stock into a medium sized saucepan and bring it to a boil.  While the stock is heating, crumble the blue cheese and chop the onion.

When the stock is almost at a boil, heat a large saucepan over medium high heat and add the olive oil.  Sauté the onion and rice together in the oil until the onion is translucent and the outer shell of each grain of rice has absorbed some of the oil.

Please excuse the quality of the photo.  I don’t have a macro lens so extremely close shots are challenging for me.  Can you see how the grains of rice are white in the center and translucent on the outside?

Once the onions and rice have been sautéed, stir in the poultry seasoning.  Reduce the heat under the large pot to medium and ladle some of the hot stock over the rice.  Cook the rice, stirring it to prevent it from sticking, until most of the liquid is absorbed.  When you can draw your spoon across the bottom of the pan and have very little liquid showing, you know it’s time to add more stock.  

The stock should boil up with an audible hiss when you ladle in the liquid.

Keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is the texture you prefer.  Try to leave it a little bit al dente.  You want the rice to have some texture so you can differentiate it from the melted cheese.  The finished rice should look something like this, with a little bit of liquid still visible in the bottom of the pot.

Add the crumbled blue cheese, stirring until it melts into the risotto, making a sauce for the rice. 

Serve the risotto immediately, while it is still loose.

If you let it cool too much it’ll set up.  It will still taste good but the texture won’t be nearly as nice.

Since there are only two of us, we had quite a lot of risotto left over.  I divided it into two containers and put it in the freezer.  I’ll use it to add flavour to other dishes when we’re in need of a treat.


Amanda said...

Yum, this looks so good! I have a partial container of blue cheese in the fridge that I have been waiting for the right recipe to use it in. My husband isnt a big fan so I think if I cut the recipe down I will have enough to make this for myself :)

Aunt B said...

Go for it! The recipe is easily reduced or increased and it will likely cook a little more quickly if you make a smaller quantity. :)