Monday, September 26, 2005

When Two Obsessions Collide

Things have gotten out of hand with the whole quest for The Perfect Risotto. All of the recipes that I have tried have been great (attempt #1 and attempt #2 previously written about), and there has been no need to continue trying to reinvent the wheel. But I'm doing it anyway.

As if the Risotto Walkabout weren't enough, I have also found myself obsessed lately with blue cheese. And, since The Carnivore loves blue cheese AND risotto, I felt like the mad scientist when I ran across a recipe for, you guessed it, Blue Cheese Risotto. Never mind that the combination sounds odd simply in the reading, this was a mountain I had to climb.

The recipe was from the "From the Restaurant Of..." section in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Food Section from a month or so ago. I love this column and almost always try the recipes, provided that they are either vegetarian or can be converted as such. This particular column was about Garrison's Broiler and Tap in Atlanta, a restaurant I have never been to, much less heard of.

I served the risotto a few nights ago, alongside pan-fried tilapia. In hindsight, I'm not entirely sure these two dishes went well together, especially since the fish itself was so highly seasoned. The risotto was incredibly rich and so strongly flavored that I think it just hasn't yet found its place in our menu. Maybe it would do better as a bed for grilled vegetables, or maybe served beside a salmon steak drizzled with lemon... I'll have to think on this.

The original recipe called for chicken stock, which was easily replaced by vegetable broth. The tricky part was that the recipe also called for bacon (and the use of the bacon drippings). This took some finessing for me since I've never actually cooked bacon and have no idea of what it even tastes like. To make up for the lack of drippings, I added an extra Tbs of butter. And, while the white wine in the recipe is supposed to be used to deglaze the bacon pan, I didn't want to scrimp on flavor and so used the wine even though I had no deglazing to actually do.


  • 6 cups vegetable broth (the original recipe called for chicken stock)
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup (4 oz) crumbled blue cheese
  • White pepper to taste
  1. Pour broth into a saucepan and heat over low. Do not boil.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about one minute.
  3. Add rice and continue cooking and stirring for two more minutes.
  4. Add white wine. Stir, and add enough warm broth to completely cover broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Continue to add the broth, about one cup at a time, and stir constantly.
  6. The rice should be done in about 30 minutes, and will be creamy and tender but still firm to the bite. Most of the broth, but probably not all, will be used.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in the blue cheese until it melts, and season with white pepper.
  8. Let sit for about 10 minutes to thicken.

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