Comfort Food for a Cold Day – Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Risotto:
I love goat’s cheese. Piquant and crumbly young cheeses or sweet buttery ripened cheeses – they all have their place on the perfect cheese board. I suspect I first came across French goat’s cheese during the long summer holidays of my teenage years, spent in the French Alps near Chambery. In particular I remember a rich Tomme de chèvre de Savoie which was used as the basis for various gratins and a delicate Chevrotin. My French hosts spent much of their summer holidays visiting the local farms, selecting cheeses, cream, butter, meat and vegetables for our lunch and dinner. While the children loved swimming in the lakes and cycling down precarious mountain roads (we generally walked up!), the adults spent their time sourcing great food and then cooking. Of course EVERYONE enjoyed eating.
While Risotto isn’t something they would have cooked, it is a dish I’ve grown to love. I’ve tried a goats cheese and red pepper risotto in a restaurant and thought the flavour combinations worked particularly well. So when I was sent some samples by the French Goats Cheese team, that was what I decided to try. It was delicious – the cheese adds a lush creaminess to the risotto, the red pepper just a touch of sweetness and a nice crunchy texture. I added ham too because I had a little left over from another meal. I’d do so again if there was some in the fridge but it really wasn’t necessary. If you were making this dish for a vegetarian then it would work perfectly well without. Though, personally I much prefer risotto made with a proper meat or fish stock, which I think adds body to the final dish.
Here’s the recipe as I made it
With many thanks to the French Goat’s Cheese team for the samples sent to me.