Duke Blue Cheese Risotto

What about today are you celebrating, and just how are you celebrating it?

I am celebrating and anxiously anticipating tonight’s men’s basketball matchup between Duke University’s Blue Devils and University of North Carolina’s Tar Heels.  As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the rivalry between these two teams puts all other rivalries to shame in my book.  It’s pretty exciting to be in the Triangle right now. 

I’m showing my spirit for the game in two ways:  the color of my clothes and the food I’m eating.  This is how I typically celebrate all holidays or special events.  I dress up being mindful of whatever the event is (meaning a Duke t-shirt and jeans today) and then make sure to consume something that represents the occassion…

Enter Duke Blue Cheese Risotto.  This recipe stemmed from a need to clean out my fridge (I’ve been trying to figure out what to make with the leftover blue cheese from my birthday party pizzas) and today’s big game.  Nothing like showing you bleed Duke blue by consuming some stinky blue cheese.  

Risotto is one of those foods that I love to eat but have only made a handful of times because the idea of it used to make me nervous.  I’ve heard horror stories about unbearably chewy or crunchy risotto from too many chefs to count.  A good deal of time at the stove is also required due to the constant stirring, and sometimes I’m just too impatient to stand in one spot for 20 minutes or more.  But I had the time today and discovered two things:

1.  I really never had anything to worry about because making risotto is extremely easy.
2.  If you step away from the stove for a couple minutes, the risotto won’t be ruined.  There’s no need to be a helicopter cook and hover.

I promise this is delicious…make it tonight. 

 

Duke Blue Cheese Risotto

 

Duke Blue Cheese Risotto

1 ½ Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup white onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup brown rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
½ cup blue cheese crumbles
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat chicken stock in a saucepan over medium heat.
2.  In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium.  Add garlic and onion, sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
3.  Add in frozen peas and heat until warmed through.
4.  Add in rice and mix well to coat the grains in oil.  Toast for 2 minutes.
5.  Pour in wine and allow to boil off (keep temperature at medium to medium-low).  Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, it’s time to start adding the broth!
6.  Using a ladle, add about ½ to 1 cup of broth to the rice mixture.  Stir risotto occassionally as the liquid absorbs.  When you stir the risotto and no liquid separates from the rice, but it’s still moist, add another ladle of stock.
7.  Continue the process of stirring and adding more broth until the starch in the rice starts to break down, the grains look creamy, and suit your desired level of tenderness (I like my risotto to be softer, less al dente).  This took me about 20 minutes using brown rice*.
8.  Once the rice is cooked, reduce heat to medium low, add blue cheese crumbles, and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
9.  Swirl in a bit of honey.  This sweet finishing touch complements the blue cheese perfectly!  A little honey goes a long way in this dish.

*Note:  Traditional risotto uses arborio rice.  I simply used brown rice because that’s what I had on hand.  Arborio rice may need additional liquid and cooking time.

 

And since it is a Wednesday….it’s time for wine of the week!

I used the $3.99 bottle that the Berserk Mushroom lady recommended to me a couple weeks back in the risotto, and it is delicious!  Aconga 2009 Chenin Blanc-Chardonnay blend from Argentina.  I found it right in my local grocery store and hopefully you can, too.  It’s excellent for the price!

Lastly, GO DUKE!

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