Now that Zsofi of Chili & Vanilia has received the parcel I sent her for the 3rd round of Euro-Blogging By Post, I can safely write about that comforting risotto I made myself the other day. Now, risotto is always good for controversy: people get very passionate about just how much they like their rice cooked, how runny it should be, not to speak of which type of rice to use and what kind of risotto is the best! I usually use vialone nano as my rice, only because I read somewhere that it's the best you can get. Except for the shape (it's rounder than carnaroli), I don't really see much of a difference to other risotto rices, but then, I have also never done a cross-testing...
Risotto is definitely one of the most versatile dishes around and probably the most comforting - it's just a bit unfortunate that it has also become a bit of a food fad around here and every restaurant seems to offer it... I have stopped ordering risotto when eating out, mainly because too many chefs get it wrong. Most of the time you'll get re-heated, dried out mush that tastes of absolutely nothing, and you get the impression that they just use left-over rice from other dishes and stir in whatever they have available in the kitchen. That's just sooo wrong!
Good risotto needs time and a lot of loving. If you can't give it your undivided attention, don't bother making it! It's the gradual addition of ingredients, the stirring and waiting until the liquid has been absorbed before pouring the next ladle in that makes all the difference.
And as a testament to the fact that risotto is my favourite comfort food, here are some links to favourite recipes to prove that there's a risotto for every season:
Spring: (Green) Asparagus risotto
Summer: Seafood risotto
Autumn: Chestnut risotto in kabocha squash
Winter: Gorgonzola & pear risotto (recipe below)
So when I had to send my parcel to Zsofi this month, I decided to try something new. For obvious reasons, I couldn't send any fresh ingredients and I thought a cep mushroom risotto would be a bit boring, so I decided to come up with a recipe using things I had at home: blue cheese, rocket and bite-sized pieces of pear... and it turned out to be a delicious combination of flavours! Zsofi seems to have liked the recipe too and has already blogged about it. And her picture is definitely more appealing than mine!
Gorgonzola, rocket & pear risotto
2 shallots, finely chopped
200 risotto rice
125ml Noilly Prat (or Martini dry)
375ml chicken stock
150g gorgonzola (cut into chunks)
1 medium pear (cut into bite-size pieces)
50g rocket salad parmesan to serve (optional)
Fry shallots in 3 tsp olive oil until just starting to brown. Add rice and fry for another 2 min. Deglaze with Noilly Prat. When evaporated /absorbed, top with ¼ of the stock. Turn heat to low setting. Cook until absorbed. Add another ¼ of stock, let absorb. Add the cheese, let it melt, then add another ¼ of stock. Leave to absorb and infuse, stirring ocasionally. Add the pear and the remaining stock, cook until liquid is almost completely gone and rice is cooked al dente.
Fold in the rocket until wilts and serve immediately with a salad.