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 proper meat or fish stock, which I think adds body to the final dish.
Here’s the recipe for goats cheese and red pepper risotto as I made it.
- 100 g French Goats Cheese Crumbled
- 100 g Arborio Rice
- 300 ml Fresh chicken stock
- 25 g Butter
- 50 ml Dry white wine
- 50 g Cooked or cured ham Shredded
- 1 Red Pepper Cut in half and de-seeded, roasted in the oven and deskinned
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan. Heat the stock to just below boiling point
Stir the rice into the butter and continue to stir for a minute or two until the rice becomes slightly translucent
Stir the wine into the rice and butter mixture and continue to stir until all the liquid is absorbed
Add in the stock, a ladle at a time. Once the rice is tender, take the mixture off the heat. If you find that your risotto needs a little extra liquid it is fine to top up with water and if you find the rice is cooked to 'al-dente' before all the stock is absorbed, then stop at that point.
Gently pan fry the red pepper strips in a little oil or butter
Crumble in most of the goats cheese and stir through. Allow the risotto to sit for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning
Serve with strips of red pepper, a little ham and some French goats cheese crumbled on top.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to try this recipe at home, why not pin it for later
With many thanks to the French Goat’s Cheese team for the samples sent to me.
Here’s another of my favourite comfort food recipes, this one for bacon leek and potato hotpot