Tuesday 5 December 2017

Risotto with Rosso di Montepulciano and Banon cheese

10 minutes to prepare Serves 4



En faire tout un fromage

Do you enjoy notes of body odor and dirty socks with hints of sour laundry with your comestibles?
If you don't, you will easily understand why I get worried when my sister visits Lyon. She literally loves French cheeses and she always brings back some Fromage du Chevre...

Although many cheeses may have a bit of pungency about them, it’s the washed-rind family that takes top honors in the stinky cheese division. During the aging process, the rinds of these cheeses are rinsed — with anything from brine to brandy, wine, beer or even pear cider — which works to inhibit mold and encourage the growth of friendly bacteria. The bacteria, Brevibacterium linens, is what gives the rind its aroma; it just so happens that B. linens is also the very same bacteria responsible for making feet stink.

This time it was the turn of Banon cheese.
In the middle ages, the inhabitants of this small village in the Hautes Alpes used to conserve surplus cheese to use during the Winter months, by covering it with horse chestnut leaves.
This tradition has continued in presentation and this cheese is still served as wrapped in chestnut leaves and tied with natural raffia, after having been dipped in alcohol to avoid bad mold. Banon is a mild soft cheese made from raw milk, with a nutty flavor and a firm supple texture. As it ripens, the surface of the cheese takes the aroma of the chestnut leaf.

However, Banon is also a very smelly cheese, and I knew the stink would only proliferate in the small confines of my refrigerator, becoming stronger and stronger every day. So, I decided to employ it almost immediately in a luxurious risotto recipe, featuring Banon cheese and Rosso di Montepulciano wine.
I intentionally kept the ingredients list short, in order not to cover the mild flavor of Banon and make it the protagonist of the dish.
Bon appetit!

Here's what you will need for the 4-serving recipe:

320 g Carnaroli rice 
1 shallot
100 ml Rosso di Montepulciano red wine
100 g Banon cheese
1 l vegetable broth
20 g butter
salt and pepper

  1. In a pan place the butter and let it melt over low heat, add a finely chopped shallot and pan-fry for a couple of minutes
  2. Pour the rice into the pan and let it toast for 1 minute
  3. Simmer it with Rosso di Montepulciano red wine until it evaporates
  4. Cook the rice, adding a spoonful of boiling vegetable broth at a time, as for a normal risotto, (please refer to the cooking time indicated on the rice package)
  5. Take off the heat and add both Banon cheese. Mix well, then serve immediately!

In the following, Nutrition Facts of this dish are indicated. Data is provided per serving.

En faire tout un fromage*
(French proverb)

* To make a whole cheese about it, meaning: to make a fuss about something

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