I love cheese ohhhh I love it! I could live on cheese only, I am talking good quality cheese, not the one that comes in perfectly square blocks! And risotto? Oh boy do I love risotto, therefore risotto with goat cheese sounds like an amazing combination to me :)
When I moved to Ocala, I was afraid I was going to have to drive to Orlando to find decent food. Ocala is a little country town, downtown is made of one street and not more than 4 intersections, but teeny tiny Ocala surprised me with an upscale shop that feels like home. At Stella’s Modern Pantry Thomas will always greet you with a smile and enjoy chatting with you. But aside from the homey atmosphere what drives me to Stella’s is the great selection of cheese and charcuterie and wine and fancy kitchen utensils oh and let’s not forget the best espresso in town and the PASTRIES!!! So European! The quality of the items they carry at Stella’s is superb, comparable only with big city specialty shops.
To make this risotto you will need a good quality goat cheese and my favorite is the one I find only at Stella’s: La Bonne Vie Goat Cheese.
The following ingredients make 2 portions of risotto
- 1 small package 4 oz. good quality goat cheese (100 gr)
- 2 cups basil leaves (not pressed down) one small plant is enough (about 12 gr)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 4 cups water (1 liter)
- 2 tbs butter (30 gr)
- 1/4 sweet yellow onion
- 3/4 cup rice for risotto (150 gr)
- 1/2 glass white wine… get it from Stella’s and enjoy the rest of the bottle with your risotto
- 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
- few pinches of salt
Start with a food processor making a paste of the goat cheese and basil leaves (washed and dried). Add the olive oil and process some more.
Put the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Risotto is not hard to make, but cooking time is important and there is no rule of the thumb because there are many many (MANY) different types of rice for risotto. Check the package for cooking time. Make sure to buy a rice for risotto, regular rice simply does not work, you need a thick grain full of starch that will be released during cooking resulting in the creamy texture that is the whole point of making risotto :P
Chop the onion thinly, then melt the butter in a small pan and sauté the onion at medium heat (picture 1).
Bring the heat to medium high under the pan where you are sauteing the onion and add the rice (picture 2). This step is called “toasting the rice”: for about one minute let the rice toast and soak in the flavor of the butter and onion stirring a couple of times.
Now add the wine (picture 3) and simmer until evaporated, this step is called “sfumare” it looks like there is no literal translation for this italian verb.
Now start the timer and set it to the time you found on the package of rice minus 2 minutes. Start adding the water that meanwhile started boiling. Add two ladlefuls at first (picture 4), add the vegetable bouillon cube, reduce the heat to slightly below medium and let the rice simmer, stirring every once in a while. When the water is almost evaporated or rather the rice absorbed it (picture 5) add one addition ladleful and continue to simmer and stir. Continue this process until the timer you set goes off, be mindful not to have too much water when the timer goes off.
Now add the cream of goat cheese and basil (picture 6) and cook for the remaining 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Before serving the rice try its doneness, the grains should be soft not crunchy. If they are crunchy, add one additional ladleful of water and cook until absorbed, at this point the rice should be done.
Note that you should not need all the water I listed in the ingredients, I just listed an amount that will definitely be enough, but you should have some left.
All done! That wasn’t too hard, was it? And the result is delicious!!! Enjoy the risotto with the wine leftover from cooking.
Ah, I am sure that if you visit Stella’s Thomas will be more than happy to suggest a good wine to pair with this goat cheese risotto.