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meatless monday: tete de moine and zucchini risotto

November 9, 2010

Before leaving Switzerland, Mr. KC and I made the most of our final days by enjoying as much easy access to great cheese as possible.  Among them was the tête de moine or “monk’s head” cheese.  Come fall, this cheese seems to be all over the markets and generally is sold in a big hunk.  There’s something really fun about it as it needs to be shaved into fine little florets in order to get its soft, nutty flavor.  We purchased ours already in florets which thankfully kept me from buying a girolle. As badly as I wanted one, I definitely didn’t need one more thing to pack.

If you haven’t tried this cheese, I really encourage you to try to find some.  And if it’s not at Whole Foods?  Well, buy a ticket to Switzerland in the fall and find it there.  Once you get your hands on one of these little florets, it’s hard to keep from eating petal after petal.   You’ll notice the recipe only calls for 100g of cheese and the box above says 150g.  That’s because almost 50g ended up getting snacked on before I could cook it up.  Don’t regret it one bit either.  As it is, 100g makes for one cheesy risotto.

tête de moine and zucchini risotto


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock*
  • 100g tête de moine, shaved, extra for garnish
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • olive oil


  1. Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped onion and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add rice and zucchini to onion and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add wine and stir immediately.  The wine will steam up quite a bit, but that’s fine.  The rice will absorb the wine quickly, so make sure to have the vegetable stock handy.
  5. Add enough chicken stock to cover the rice.  Continue to stir.
  6. Every time, you notice the chicken rice has absorbed most of the liquids add more vegetable stock.
  7. The closer the rice is to being done, the slower the liquid will absorb.  About 15 minutes into cooking, test a grain of rice.  Continue cooking until al dente.
  8. Once you’re done cooking, add the tête de moine and stir.  Serve piping hot so the cheese stays nice and melted.

*To keep this a vegetarian recipe, I used vegetable stock, but most of the time for risotto, I use chicken stock.  Feel free to use either.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2010 2:16 am

    Seems I’m going to have to book a ticket to Switzerland then. Without this sounding insulting to your fabulous recipe, what would you suggest an alternative cheese?
    🙂 Mandy

    • November 9, 2010 8:59 am

      I may be biased, but I think everyone needs to book their ticket to Switzerland. Myself included 🙂

      Back to the cheese though. The nice thing about risotto is that it’s so versatile. You could go the classic route and just use a big handful of parmigiano. Alternatively, go with any cheese that may jump out at you. Brie could be really nice give it’s texture and soft flavor. Just last night, I did a blue cheese and mushroom risotto which came out lovely. Sadly, the showcase item in this recipe really is this lovely cheese, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find an equally lovely cheese and use the risotto to showcase it.

  2. November 10, 2010 12:41 pm

    What a gorgeous cheese! I thought “Lettuce? Mushroom? Cauliflower?” The risotto looks fantastic. Blue cheese and mushroom doesn’t sound bad either though and I have access to those. 🙂 Lovely blog and good luck with your move!

    • November 10, 2010 2:39 pm

      It is a rather unique cheese. I’ve caught glimpses of it in specialty cheese stores in the U.S.. But availability seems sporadic and fleeting at best. The heartening news is that any other cheese generally comes in a very close second!

  3. November 12, 2010 3:26 pm

    mmmm, cheese….and that’s all I could think about after reading this post, as I’m grabbing my coat and heading out to Whole Foods. I needed to go there anyway….love it.

    • November 12, 2010 4:04 pm

      I’m pretty sure that if I were to write an autobiography, the title might be “mmmm, cheese.” The sequel, of course, being titled “mmmm, chocolate”. Happy shopping!


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