Christmas is a time for seeing friends and family. For enjoying the company of those people in your life that matter. For giving and receiving presents. For drinking far too much Bucks Fizz whilst still in your pyjamas. For eating your bodyweight in chocolate. For playing card games with your Nan (and winning money off of her in the process).

In our house, Christmas is also a time for cheese.

On the face of it there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, is there? Especially knowing that between Christmas and New Year you’re guaranteed to find something tasty in the fridge if you’re feeling peckish. It’s all fun until you get a week or so into January and you’re trying to eat a little more healthily. My penchant for overcatering for any event soon comes back to bite me…

Fortunately, most cheese has a decent shelf life and unlike a lot of the Christmas leftovers there’s no immediate rush to eat it before it goes off. Indeed, it often survives for longer than the crackers and biscuits for cheese… That gives me a few weeks to try and find some nice recipes to use it up, before I get tempted to sit down for an afternoon and polish off as much as I can in one sitting.

It will come as no surprise, then, to hear that this Mushroom and Comté risotto is one of the products of the early 2019 Cheese Surplus. If you’re not familiar with it, Comté is an unpaturised cows’ milk cheese that’s rather similar to gruyère. It’s a mild flavoured, nutty cheese that’s great on any cheeseboard. Turns out it’s also pretty tasty in a risotto too. It’s helped along the way here with a generous amount of garlic and some sautéed mushrooms, both of which are a wonderful contrast to the almost sweet cheese.

Now, what cheese is next on the list to be used up this month?


Comté and Garlic Mushroom Risotto

Rich and punchy, this risotto is not for the feint-hearted!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Risotto, Vegetarian
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Shallot peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
  • 150 g Shitake Mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 150 g Arborio Rice
  • 100 ml Vermouth or Dry White Wine
  • 500 ml Vegetable Stock kept warm
  • 50 g Comté or Gruyère grated
  • Handful Fresh Parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil and the butter. Add the shallot and mushrooms to the pan and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until the both are softened. Add in the garlic then fry for a further minute before removing from the pan and putting to one side.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan and turn the heat up a little. Pour in the rice and stir in the oily mixture until well coated, then cook for a couple of minutes until the ends of each grain have turned slightly translucent.
  • Pour in the vermouth, or wine – it will bubble vigorously but you want to keep stirring the rice constantly until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Add a generous ladle of the stock into the pan and stir continuously.
  • When almost all of the stock has been absorbed add another ladle to the pan, continuing to stir the rice. Repeat this process until the rice is almost cooked through and it has created a rich, creamy coating – this should take around 15-18 minutes. You may not need all of the stock – so proceed with caution to avoid making the risotto too wet (see next step).
  • Return the mushroom and shallot mixture to the pan and stir through the rice. This will add a little more moisture to the risotto, which is why it’s important to not add too much stock earlier on in the process.
  • When the rice is tender and cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and stir through the grated Comté cheese and most of the chopped parsley. Serve immediately with the remaining parsley sprinkled over the top.

Notes

If you use Comté or Gruyère this risotto wouldn’t be vegetarian, as these cheeses are made following a traditional method that uses animal rennet. There are vegetarian alternatives available, so if you’re making this for a vegetarian then please do check the packaging.

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