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Cheddar Cheese Risotto

This is the first of my holy trinity of cheese-rich comfort foods. There is just something about melted cheese, that perfect goo, that seems to soothe the soul and bolster the body.

This might seem odd to Italians (one of the reasons it is not in the Hey Presto chapter) but it works beautifully: The starchy rice and the sharp cheddar are the perfect counterpoint for each other.

I make this, too, on days when I need to escape to the kitchen and have a good, quiet, relaxing and mindless 20 minutes staring into the middle distance and stirring. I heartily recommend it.


1. Melt the butter and oil in a medium-sized pan and cook the sliced baby leeks or scallions until softened.

2. Add the risotto rice and keep stirring for a minute or so, then turn up the heat and add the wine and mustard, stirring until the wine is absorbed.

3. Start ladling in the hot stock, letting each ladleful become absorbed as you stir before adding the next one.

4. Stir and ladle until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes, then add the cheese, stirring it into the rice until it melts.

5. Take the pan straight off the heat, still stirring as you do, and then spoon into warmed dishes, sprinkling with some of the chopped chives.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter

From 'Nigella Express' by Nigella Lawson. Photographs by Lis Parsons. Copyright 2007 Nigella Lawson. Photographs Copyright Lis Parsons. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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Nigella Lawson