Have you ever wondered how a cheesemaker eats their own cheese? After all, they have the most access to it and, undoubtedly, eat more of it than any of us no matter how obsessed we are with their cheese. It only makes sense that they have the best pairing suggestions and recipe ideas.
That’s why we decided to launch a series featuring some of our favorite cheesemakers to discover their favorite ways to eat their own cheeses. To kick things off, we spoke with Jodi Ohlsen Read, the cheesemaker and co-founder of the farmstead sheep’s milk creamery Shepherd’s Way Farms in Minnesota.
culture: which of your cheeses do you eat most often, and why?
Jodi Ohlsen Read: Friesago, our Asiago-style cheese, is my go-to for cooking or as a table cheese. I use it shaved, grated, sliced, and even cubed. It’s so versatile and adds a lovely layer of nutty sheep’s cheese flavor to almost anything.
culture: what’s your favorite simple pairing, either food or beverage?
JOR: My at-home favorite pairing for it is fig spread. No cracker, just the cheese and the fig spread. We also make a quick sandwich on ficelle bread with a smear of good butter, spicy microgreens, Red Table speck, and shaved Friesago.
culture: What’s your favorite go-to recipe with this cheese?
JOR: The recipe I make most often with Friesago is an oven risotto with mushrooms. I love a rich, creamy cheesy risotto at the end of a long day of cheesemaking, especially when the weather starts getting cooler and we move to cozier meals. But after a 12 hour day I don’t feel like cooking, and patiently stirring risotto while adding broth bit-by-bit is not going to work. This oven risotto is an easier way to achieve that cheesy comfort. I can take a break, toss it together, pop it in the oven, finish cleaning, and come back to a ready dinner.
The recipe I make most often with Friesago is an oven risotto with mushrooms. Here is the recipe I use for an oven risotto with Friesago. I substitute any vegetables I have on hand!
Photo Credits: Jodi Ohlsen Read
Oven Risotto with Friesago and Mushrooms
- 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
- 5 cups chicken broth more if needed
- ¾ cups grated Friesago
- ½ cup minced shallots
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice uncooked
- 1/3 cup dry white whine
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Cook shallots for one minute, add mushrooms and salt. Cover and cook until softened, 5-8 minutes.
- Add rice and stir thoroughly. Add wine and cook until liquid is evaporated.
- Add 4 ½ cups of the broth and all of the thyme. Stir, cover, and place on center rack in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove risotto from the oven, and discard thyme sprig.
- Add remaining olive oil, ½ cup broth, ½ cup Friesago, and pepper. Stir for one minute. The texture should be creamy, a bit loose, not stiff. Add more broth if necessary.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with more Friesago, and serve.