Thanks to my new toy, I am on a bit of a risotto kick. I am also thoroughly enjoying the fall weather that has come to New England. This time of year always makes me start jonesing for winter squash, slow roasted meat dishes (especially pork), and all things apple.
With a simple dinner of pan seared pork chops and roasted delicata squash planned, all that was missing was the apple. We decided to be a little whimsical and turn the classic flavors of apple and cheddar pie into a rich, creamy risotto. The combination of apples, aged English cheddar, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of cognac was fantastic. It was both sweet and savory with a nice richness. I made this in my pressure cooker so it was also quick and easy. You can make this the conventional way as well, and I think it would definitely be worth the effort.
Apple and Cheddar Risotto
1 tbls butter
1 small to medium apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1/2 cup aborio rice
1 cup apple juice
2 tbls cognac (you could also use brandy or bourbon, if you want to omit the alcohol, make sure you replace the liquid with additional juice or water)
3 ounces cheddar cheese
2 tbls heavy cream
Dash of cinnamon
In a sauce pan (or your pressure cooker) melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and saute, stirring, until just starting to soften and caramalize. Add the rice and continue to stir until the rice is light golden, about 3 minutes. Add the apple juice and cognac, put the lid on the cooker, and bring to pressure. If you are making the risotto the conventional way, make sure the liquid is heated and add slowly, one ladleful at a time. Stir each infusion of liquid until it is completely absorbed before adding more.
Once up to pressure, cook for 8 minutes. Once the rice is tender, remove from heat and stir in the cheese, heavy cream, and the dash of cinnamon until creamy.
This amount serves 2-3 people (pretty hefty portions). Serve alongside pork chops and roasted squash. This recipe can easily be doubled.