Monday, April 10, 2006

Love in my Veins

I love Gorgonzola. I could fill my bathtub with melted Gorgonzola and jump in. In fact, didn't we do that one time in Las Vegas ...? Well, I digress, but I love to eat it plain. Or to melt it on top of a steak. Or for dessert, maybe with wine poached pears.

But most of all, I like to eat it as a risotto. A super creamy, super rich risotto. Decadent, lush, silken to the tongue but with that sharp taste of just the perfect veins of mold (did I say mold?). Infused with the flavor of Gorgonzola. When you’re done eating, you just know you’ve taken a few years off the end somehow, but it seems worth it!

With toasted pistachios sprinkled on top, or even mixed in to the risotto at the end of cooking.

I learned about Gorgonzola while living in Munich, which is just a short hop from Italy, and the northern regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, where it originates from. It was naturally better there, coming pretty much right from the source.

I can’t get Piedmont or Lombardy Gorgonzola here. I used to have to make due with a generic product. The flavor was OK, but pales in comparison to the real thing.

Lately, however, our local Trader Joe’s has been carrying an Artisan brand of Gorgonzola (under the Trader Joe’s lable), and it is consistently better tasting, and definitely a big step closer to the real thing. This cheese is fairly firm and crumbly for a Gorgonzola, not so creamy as some, and not at all salty. But it suffices until I can get back for some of the original again!

So tonight, a super rich and creamy Gorgonzola Risotto with Toasted Pistachios, and a tomato salad with tarragon vinaigrette on the side.

The risotto follows the typical steps, and I add the Gorgonzola towards the end, when maybe ¼ of the broth is left, so I can adjust the level of creaminess of the final risotto.

Gorgonzola Risotto with Toasted Pistachios

2 quarts chicken broth
1 onion, chopped fine
olive oil
700 grams short grain rice (about 2½ cups)
2-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
18 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 cup pistachios, shelled and lightly toasted

Hear chicken broth in a large pot until it boils, then turn down and keep at a simmer.

Heat olive oil in large, heavy pot. Add onion and sauté until softened over moderate heat. Increase heat to high and add rice. Cook rice, stirring, until it turns a little translucent (but don’t let it burn). Reduce heat to medium high, and add rice wine vinegar. Stir vigorously. Add a few ladles of chicken broth, maybe 1 ½ to 2 cups or so, and cook, stirring. As the broth gets completely absorbed, add additional broth by ladlefuls, stirring frequently.

When about ¾ of the broth has been added to the rice, add the cheese, stirring, and a ladle of broth. Continue to add broth until the rice is cooked al dente, and the risotto is very creamy. The cooking should take at least 20 minutes, but no more than 30.

Scoop risotto immediately into bowls, sprinkle with pistachios, and serve. Enjoy!

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Blogger MM said...

Oh good lord, you just found my achilles heel. Gorgonzola, risotto, pistachios ... melt.

1:06 AM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Stephanie, it is a wonderful combination! Thanks for the comment!

10:18 AM  
Blogger barbie2be said...

that looks yum, yum, yummy! i love gorgonzola too... i was recently introduced to having it with crumbled pancetta sprinkled over braised brussel sprouts with garlic.

10:40 PM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Wow, that sound delicious as well! Thanks for the tip, Barbie2be!

12:21 AM  

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