A fruit and cheese risotto? Yes! It’s a bit unexpected, but it makes for a sophisticated dish. Pear and cheese pair well together on an appetizer board so it is only natural that they marry seamlessly in a rice dish, especially a creamy risotto.
While this is a great primo piatto (first dish/first course) anytime, I think it’s especially elegant for the holidays –despite the fact that you might want to lick the serving bowl afterwards. Give it a try if you’re hosting guests (minus the plate licking part, of course).
Arliano Update (Aggiornamento Arliano):
We are nearing the finish line with our home renovation. All the pieces of the kitchen have been installed and are in working order. Whew! We won’t be able to move back into the house for another few weeks, but that will give me time to think about how to best organize the regular-use items and food, as well as the occasional and rarely used cookware. In the meantime, I’ve begun restoring an old dining room table. Below is the table base that I’ve sanded and started stripping off the layers of paint. I’d like to get it to a natural wood finish but there is so much detail work in the scrolled legs, I may have to settle and just paint the base an off white. Wish me luck!
We had our first hard frost, which effectively ended our garden season except for the cabbage. Above is an image of a poor little zinnia flower that only two days prior was thriving. Such is the cycle of life! It’s now time to label and put away the irrigation hoses for the year. Now that most of the leaves have fallen around the yard, we’ll rake those up and add them to the garden as well so that they nurture and aerate the soil for next year’s garden once tilled in.
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Risotto alle Pere e Formaggio (Pear and Cheese Risotto)
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 3 medium pears, peeled and grated (if you want the end risotto to be more white in appearance). Alternatively, you may leave the pears unpeeled, as I do, if you prefer, and grate them as is. Regardless, do not grate or use the core
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove, or two small cloves, finely minced
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan, Grana Padano or Pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt), more to taste
- Optional: a handful of chopped toasted walnuts on top of each dish for crunch
- Grate the pears and toss them with the lemon juice. Set aside
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté onions until translucent, about seven minutes
- Add the rice to the sauté pan with the onions and stir while cooking for approximately 3-5 minutes until the rice becomes translucent. Add the minced garlic at the last minute
- While the rice is sautéing, in a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable broth until simmering. Keep it simmering throughout the rest of the cooking process (alternatively, you can microwave the broth for each addition to the pan)
- Add the white wine to the rice and simmer and stir until the wine is nearly evaporated
- Add one ladle (about a 1/2 cup) of broth at a time to the rice and simmer and stir until the broth is nearly evaporated. Add another ladle of broth and repeat this process several times. Adding the broth a little at a time allows the rice to slowly release their starch, which makes it creamy. If you put all the broth in at once the rice reacts differently and you won’t have a nice, creamy risotto. Next, add the grated pears and stir well. Continue to add the broth a ladle at a time until you have used all of it. This process should take about 30 – 40 minutes. Taste a few grains of rice for doneness. Continue simmering and stirring until the rice is creamy, not watery
- With the heat turned off, stir in the butter until fully incorporated. Also off the heat, add the grated cheese and stir until thoroughly mixed in. Serve with a little extra cheese, a swirl of fresh olive oil, and chopped walnuts, if using
We were privileged to be guests of Greg and Tom, and Greg tried out this risotto on us…And it was delicious. The perfect meal for hungry guests on a cold Autumn night.
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