Cheddar Risotto with Smoked Paprika

Cheddar Risotto with Paprika 1

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.

Cheddar Risotto with Paprika 2

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.

Cheddar Risotto with Paprika 3

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.

Karen xoxo

VegetarianGluten Free

Cheddar Risotto with Paprika

adapted from

Prep Time: 15 minutes     Cook time: 30 minutes     Yield: 4 servings as a side dish, 2 as a main dish

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.

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  1. WHAAAAATTT? Cheddar? Smoked paprika? Risotto? I’m totally in. This looks fantastic!

  2. First of all, totally infatuated with that orange ramekin (and love how it coordinates with the seal on the storage container). Yes, I am weird like that…
    I have to agree with you about risotto love – and that it is far easier than those goofy TV chefs/ cooks would leave you to believe! (And oven risotto makes it even more hands off :-) )
    AND I still can’t believe you grew your own saffron…

  3. I am going to try and coerce my gardening buddy into growing saffron this season by showing him this post! brilliant!

  4. I have loved your site for quite a while, but I had to comment on this one. Oh, dear! I must make this right now! I am infatuated with smoked paprika and have been for a while now. I add a bit to so many dishes when I am sautéing onions and garlic and it just adds something….

    Thanks for the fabulous recipe and the lovely site. It is one of my favorites!

  5. I will definitely have to try this! We make risotto quite often, but I’d never thought of adding cheddar cheese to it! Very nice! And great photos!

  6. More risotto recipes, please! I’m pinning this one-just have to try because it looks flavorful and amazingly delicious;-)

  7. How yummy looking! The addition of smoked paprika sounds like a great idea.

  8. You speak my language! I love trying out new risotto combinations. The dijon and smoked paprika sound divinely delish!

  9. Darlynne says:

    Why have I always thought risotto would take the whole damn day to cook? Am I thinking of paella or a scene from Big Night? This recipe sounds delicious, SoupAddict, thanks for posting it.

  10. Holy delicious!! I’ve never had risotto before but I think I have to make this asap.

  11. You grew your own saffron! Wow! How did I miss that post. Just came back from reading and I’m sold. I’m a saffron-shunning everyday cook because of its expense. But I do have the smoked paprika, anyhow. Risotto on its way. (I also have some over-aged saffron — didn’t know it could happen. Just saved its preciousness too long.)

  12. Arborio rice MUST go on my shopping list! This looks amazing!!!

  13. Oh, I love the addition of paprika here! And you know I like saffron haha.

  14. You grew your own saffron? Very cool. I have possibly a lifetime supply of saffron (Trader Joe’s had it at some ridiculously low price) and smoked paprika (Costco). Except it won’t last that long. Solution? Use it and enjoy. Perhaps in this yummy-looking risotto.

  15. I happened upon this on pinterest, my 6-year-old boy is determined to make this for tea tonight. Wish us luck!

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