Cheddar Risotto with Smoked Paprika
If I were ever to start up another “addict” site, I can tell you without reservation that it would be “RisottoAddict.”
(That domain name is not for sale, natch — I looked it up. Appears to be owned by a squatter. Boo.)
The odd thing is that I almost never post about risotto, mostly because I keep thinking that I have tons of posts about risotto up here already. But there’s just one. And now this one.
Clearly, I’ve been holding out on you.
This is one of my go-to favorites — I never get bored with it. And as a side dish, it goes with everything. Instead of goopy mac and cheese alongside a grilled black bean burger and a frosty margarita, I’ll prepare this risotto. The smoky hit of paprika transcends seasons with ease — warm and rich for winter, but also grill-food (and summer) friendly.
Oh, and don’t not make this recipe just because you don’t have saffron on hand. Although linked inevitably (and rightly) to risotto, the addition of saffron here was more habit than anything — smoked paprika will hold its own quite nicely (and, as I’ve heard more than once recently from grumpy saffron-shunning chefs, risotto doesn’t always need saffron). (Say that threes times fast: “saffron-shunning chefs.”)
I used it because (a) saffron rocks the party, and (b) since I grow my own, I don’t feel the need to be stingy with it.
I do draw the line at saffron in the morning coffee, though.
Cheddar Risotto with Paprika
adapted from Nigella.com
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 baby or wild leeks (or spring onions), thinly sliced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, finely grated
1/2 cup Parmesano reggiano, finely grated
1. Warm the vegetable stock in a small pot until gently simmering. Melt the butter and oil in a medium pan over medium heat until shimmering. Cook the leeks (or onions) until softened (about 3 to 4 minutes).
2. Add the rice and stir for a minute or so, until the grains are coated in oil. Add the wine, saffron, mustard and paprika and simmer, stirring all the while, until the wine is absorbed by the rice.
3. Begin ladling in the hot broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more. Continue until the rice is al dente and the dish is creamy (but not soupy), 18 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in both cheeses until melted and well-incorporated. Spoon the risotto into shallow bowls and dust tops lightly with additional paprika, if desired.