January 6, 2006

Boursin and Fennel Seed Risotto

A number of recipes were considered for trying a new variation of risotto, among them "Champagne Risotto with Scallops", "Walnut Risotto with Roasted Asparagus" (that last ingredient unfortunately not being in season at the moment) and "Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Blue Cheese Risotto". I plan on trying all three at various points in the future.

I've been a big fan of boursin cheese for years. I love its creamy texture and rich taste, so I decided on the "Boursin and Fennel Seed Risotto," especially curious as it included no other cheeses (and I'm quite used to adding Parmigiano-Reggiano in every previous case of cooking risotto). Boursin, a cousin of some of the traditional norman triple creme and unripened cheeses, was created in 1957 by Francois Boursin, a cheesemaker in Normandy, France. His first variety, Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs (which is what I used), was inspired by a long-standing traditional dish: fromage frais (fresh cheese) served with a bowl of fine herbs, which allowed each person to create his or her own personally seasoned cheese. It was also the first cheese to advertise on the french TV in 1968. Its advertising slogan "Du pain, du vin et du boursin" (Bread, wine and Boursin) became one of the most famous of the french advertisement history.

Boursin and Fennel Seed Risotto
from Gourmet (February 1994)

1 shallot sliced
1 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 TBSP unsalted butter
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
3 TBSP dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 TBSP boursin cheese
2 TBSP minced fresh chives

In a small saucepan bring broth and water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.

In a heavy skillet, melt butter over moderately high heat and saute shallot about two minutes. Add rice and fennel seeds and stir until coated with butter. Add vermouth and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Continue cooking and add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each portion of broth be absorbed before adding the next. When rice is creamy and al dente, remove pan from heat and stir in Boursin, chives, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2.

Notes: The shallots were my addition. The fennel seed did give it an intriguing taste and texture. However, the sense of the boursin wasn't quite as strong as I had hoped and I would probably bump it up to 3 TBSP the next time I give this a try. Served with Cavit Collection Pinot Grigio 2004 (also used in the cooking).

This was very interesting, and I quite enjoyed it, though not as much as some of the others I've attempted. If I had to pick a favorite from among those so far, it would probably be Gorgonzola and Pear Risotto with Jasmine Tea Risotto with Sweet Peas and Shrimp running a very close second.

Posted by Jennifer at January 6, 2006 11:19 AM | TrackBack
Comments

I pretty much agree that it was good (if not as good as some of the other risottos we've tried), but might have been better if the flavor of the boursin had come through more strongly. Definitely worth trying again though.

Posted by: Michael at January 9, 2006 8:36 PM
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