Devon inspired: Goats cheese, pear and walnut risotto
Despite the commonly heard complaints of rice pudding-esque versions, a great risotto can be a thing of beauty and simplicity. Once you’ve got over the continuous stirring and testing to make sure the rice has just the right amount of bite, it’s a really easy dish to do well and has become a favourite choice of mine for dinner parties.
Variations of my white wine and roast vegetable risotto recipe are always a reliable fall back, but recently I tried a new recipe, based on an incredible indulgent suggestion from Jamie Oliver. I’ve added my own Devon twist and removed some of the richer ingredients (I think his recipe is too much cheese for even me!!)
Usually I use white wine in risotto however this time I swapped for cider. Friends will have heard me rant about the poor quality of cider in SA (I’m not sure Savannah has ever seen an apple!) but there are a few exceptions to this rule which come close to the excellent ciders found near my home in Devon. On this particular occasion I used a half bottle of James Mitchells Gone Fishing (@JMGFRealCider).
Half a bottle of JMGF cider
300g arborio risotto rice
Half an onion, chopped finely
125g soft goats cheese
1 pear, sliced (apple would work great too but I love pears and walnuts together – avoid soft, fluffy fleshed pears)
750ml vegetable stock (you may not use it all/you may need more to get the texture just right – also depends how much cider you use (I always go for more booze, less stock).
1 handful of chopped walnuts
Parmesan shavings and balsamic glaze to serve
Soften the onion in a little olive oil. Add the rice and stir so it is coated in the oil. Add the cider and simmer over a medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the cider is absorbed, gradually add the stock, stirring until the rice is cooked. Crumble 3/4 of the goats cheese in to the rice and stir the pear pieces through gently. Serve with the remainder of the goats cheese, walnuts, parmesan shaving and balsamic vinegar.
Pair with another bottle of JMGF cider because really it is better than the awful lager you get here 😉