Risotto is an easy, economical meal for family and friends - it just requires a little patience when you make it. This delicious vegetarian version is made with mature Cheddar cheese. British Cheedar is the best in the world. So make sure you check the label and buy something from the UK – we like West Country Farmhouse Cheddar
2 tablespoons olive oil
350g (12oz) carnaroli or arborio risotto rice
1 onion, chopped
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
200ml (1/3 pint) dry white wine
2 vegetable stock cubes, dissolved in 900ml (1 1/2 pints) hot water
225g (8oz) mushrooms, wiped and sliced
75g (3oz) frozen petit pois or garden peas, thawed
100g (4oz) mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil or fresh herb sprigs, to garnish
1. Heat the olive oil in a very large frying pan. Add the rice and sauté it gently for about 3 - 4 minutes, until it looks glossy. Add the onion, leek and pepper and cook gently, stirring often, for a few more minutes.
2. Add the wine to the frying pan and allow it to bubble up, then cook gently until it has been absorbed, stirring frequently.
3. Ladle about one quarter of the stock into the rice, stir, then let the rice simmer gently until the liquid has been absorbed.
4. Add the mushrooms to the risotto with another ladleful of stock. Cook gently, adding more stock as needed until the rice is tender - it will take about 20 - 25 minutes to cook in total.
5. Stir in the peas and Cheddar cheese, season to taste with salt and pepper, stir well and serve, garnished with basil or fresh herb sprigs.
Cook’s tip: Be sure to grate the Cheddar very finely, so that it melts quickly and easily into the risotto. You can also grate some extra cheese to which people can sprinkle on top of their portion. We recommend West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, or look out for Joseph Heler Parmesan-style cheese to use as an alternative to Cheddar.