DSC02152October already! The leaves are turning, the mornings are frosty, and it’s beginning to be dark in the mornings again. My Secret Recipe Club assignment for the month was Jenna’s Cooking Journey. Jenna is one of the most avid participants in different group cooking projects I’ve ever seen. I was tempted by some of the Christmas treats she’s already posting… as well as those she’s posted in previous years. It was also fun having Jenna because she had actually pulled a couple of my recipes from previous SRC reveals. She does quite a bit of baking, but there were some savory recipes that really tempted me, especially Mushroom Garlic Sauce and a couple of quiches. In the end, I made a risotto, swapping out the beer for hard cider and adding in the peas for a bit of color and textural contrast.

The recipe was quite nice, with a salty bite from the pecorino romano and some serious creaminess from the cheese and starch from the rice. It’s a lovely side or rich main dish. I think that the black pepper is necessary, though, as a bit of contrast to the other flavors.

Cider Cheddar Risotto

24 oz veg stock
1/2 small onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 bottle of hard cider
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/8 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Black Pepper, to taste
Optional: 1 cup frozen peas

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to pan; swirl to coat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes and add garlic. Microwave the stock until almost boiling. Stir the rice into the saucepan, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Increase heat to medium and add cider. Add 1/2 cup stock and cook 3-5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Continue adding remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next. Right before you serve the risotto, stir in the peas, cheese and season with black pepper.