It's not often at all that I cook something entirely without meat; just call me old-fashioned. But I put this together last night literally using what I had in the fridge and cupboards, and it was awesome, full of flavour and warming on a Halloween night. A tasty happy accident, indeed.
Smoked Cheese & Herb Risotto (Serves 2)
Not much of a recipe, more of a method - simply throw about half a packet of risotto rice (Arborio) into a pan with a large knob of butter - very large. Melt the butter over a low heat and coat all the grains. Meanwhile, make up a pint of chicken or vegetable stock with a stock cube. When all the grains are coated are turning slightly translucent, add the stock slowly, stirring all the time. Leave the heat low, and keep adding stock when the rice soaks it up. When the rice has taken on a much stock as you like, stop adding it.
At this point, you basically season the rice. I added: A grind of black pepper, a large pinch of dried rosemary and a larger still pinch of dried sage.. I also tore up a few spinach leaves and chucked those in. Finally I added about 50gms of Smoked Cheddar, a grate of Parmesan and another small knob of butter to emulsify the whole thing. When the cheese has totally melted, serve.
I was hankering after something Belgian to go with all those herbs, and luckily had a bottle of Brugse Zot to hand. It's an ok beer, but sings a little better when served with food. Brugse Zot has quite a high level of carbonation, which cleanses the palate after the intense, thick risotto, and this also makes it a lighter choice. There's a ever-so-slight citrus on the finish, and the usual Bretty wet-grassiness on the nose. The Rosemary and Sage manage to be picked out by the beer.
Anyway, a simple - and very quick - recipe for darker nights. Give it a whirl.