A Portrait of British Cheese (Quadrille, £27) Photography ©Angus D. Birditt.
Mantecatura Risotto with Leeds Blue Cheese
Being a light, yoghurt-style blue cheese, Leeds Blue is perfect for this recipe as it doesn't make the dish too rich or heavy, as a Stilton-style cheese might
The aim of any artisan cheesemaker you meet is to make a unique and interesting tasting cheese, something to savour with delight and discuss with pleasure. Mario’s cheeses are certainly that, blending two cheesemaking cultures together to create a range of cheeses that are wonderfully distinctive. I could have picked any of his cheeses to focus on, all of which are inspired by his Sardinian heritage and using top-quality milk from Yorkshire.
I’ve made this recipe multiple times since visiting Mario in Yorkshire, serving it up to family and friends for a summer’s lunch outside or indoors on a cosy winter’s evening. You can use any mushrooms you like. I cooked it once with a large fungus called ‘chicken of the woods’ that I foraged from an oak tree and which tastes just like delicious slow-cooked chicken. But be very careful when you are foraging for wild mushrooms, as it can be tricky to identify the right one.
- 50g butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 375g mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- pinch of dried thyme (or chopped fresh thyme leaves)
- 225g Arborio rice
- 125ml white wine
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- 100g Leeds Blue
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- handful of fresh chives, finely chopped, to serve
Place the butter and oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms and sauté for five to six minutes until soft and golden edged. Then add the garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt.
Add the rice to the mushroom mixture and stir-fry for a minute until the rice is well coated and glossy. Next add the wine and cook until it has been completely absorbed.
Now it’s time to add the vegetable stock – which should be hot – in stages to the rice and mushroom mixture. Start by pouring in 200ml of the stock, stirring constantly until it has been absorbed by the rice. Repeat this process four times, each time adding 200ml of the stock and stirring constantly. Cook for 20–25 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Crumble in the cheese, grind over plenty of black pepper and stir until the cheese has melted. Divide between plates and serve sprinkled with the chopped chives.
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