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creamy cheddar risotto

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

There are some shows that I like to watch on the Food Network and Cooking Channel and a lot that I don’t like. Nigella’s shows fall somewhere in the middle. If you’re not familiar with her she is known as the ‘Domestic Goddess” or “Queen of Food Porn” in the UK. She’s had several cooking shows and has written several cookbooks.  I love all things British and am surprised that she irks me, but that’s why she falls in the middle…I don’t care for her, yet still watch her shows. There is something about her personality that bothers me that I can’t pinpoint and I think she’s a tad condescending. When watching a segment to get a frosting recipe, her measurement for powdered sugar was a “billowy cloud.” Ummm…is that 3/4 a cup?

When browsing the cookbook section at the library I came across her Nigella Express cookbook and thought I would flip through it and try a recipe or two. The good news was all the measurements were already converted for us Americans. When I saw the recipe for cheddar risotto I knew I wanted to make this immediately. Risotto (arborio rice) release a lot of starch creating a creamy texture and when you add a lot of cheddar to it you have a mac and cheese style dish with less dairy because you don’t need to add milk or cream. It’s a cheaters mac and cheese, that tastes great.

I’ve posted risotto recipes in the past and I can’t express enough how easy it is to make. I think it is just as versatile as pasta and can take anything you add to it.

Creamy Cheddar Risotto
adapted from Nigella Express

1/2 tbs butter
1 tbs oil (whatever you have, olive, canola, vegetable…)
2-3 green onions (scallions), chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 cup of stock, heated (I used chicken, but vegetable is okay)
1 1/2-2 cups cheddar cheese
chives, chopped (or the green tops of green onions)
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Heat stock over medium-low heat. Melt butter and oil in a medium-sized pan with deepish sides over medium heat. Add risotto and mustard, saute for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add green onions and one ladle of your heated stock. As the stock is absorbed, add another ladle of stock and continue until there is no stock left. Make sure to stir as you go. This process should take about 18 minutes. Add the cheddar cheese, stirring until it melts. I added 2 cups, the recipe called for 1 cup, but please, it needed more. Taste your risotto and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and garnish with chives or green onions.

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