Pear and Blue Cheese risotto

I love blue cheese and especially in winter I would regularly crave its sharp flavor, so I try to come up with new excuses pairings to enjoy my cheese. The other day I decided to make a risotto with blue cheese.

Pear and Blue Cheese risotto

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1 quart broth
  • blue cheese
  • 1-2 pears
  • 1 onion
  • EVOO
  • pepper
  • parsley (optional)
  • butter

Directions

  1. I started out by sauteing two thinly sliced pears in a bit of butter until browned. Then, I took the pears out of the pan and in the same pan I added a bit of oil and sauteed some onion. When the onion was soft I added rice for risotto (about 2 handfuls per person) and let it toast a bit.
  2. When the rice was well toasted and translucent (you’ll see the grain become almost transparent), I added a splash of white wine and let it evaporate. When the wine evaporated, I started adding boiling broth (I usually use beef broth but you can use your favorite) one ladle at a time and waiting to add the next ladle until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. It should take about 30 min and a quart of broth for 4 people.
  3. When the rice was almost done, I added my cup or so of diced blue cheese (I used blue Stilton but any kind of blue cheese would be good). You should do this about 5 minutes before the rice is ready and after adding some broth so that the cheese can melt in the liquid. Finally, right before taking the rice off the stove I mixed in the pears. Add parsley and/or pepper to taste.
  4. Super cheesy and sophisticated, great for entertaining on a cold winter night!
  5. And remember: “al contadino non far sapere quanto e’ buono il formaggio con le pere” (Don’t let the farmer know how good is cheese with pears)!!

Black squid ink risotto recipe

I have been meaning to post this recipe for a while and but now I will just write it down…

Ingredients

  • half a cup of arborio rice per person
  • 2-3 squids per person
  • black squid ink
  • 1 tsp tomato concentrate per person
  • garlic clove

Directions

  1. When I do black ink risotto I start with squids. First I roast a little of garlic in oil in a large pan (I often use a wok) and add about a pound of squids, cleaned and cut into stripes. I add some dry white wine and let evaporate. Then I let the squids cook until they are very white, about 30-40 minutes.
  2. When the squids are white and tender I add the rice, Arborio rice or, if you can find it, Carnaroli, and let it toast until the grains are translucent. At this point I add some more white wine and shortly after the black ink (I usually buy it in pouches at the supermarket in Italy and bring it back to US, but you should be able to find it at good fish shops). Then I add 1 spoon of tomato concentrate and about a ladle of boiling water and turn the heat down so that the liquid is just simmering.
  3. When the water is almost completely evaporated, I add some more water. And keep adding it ladle by ladle and stirring frequently until the rice is cooked. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. In the end you should have creamy rice, not at all stiff. The rice grains should be uniformly soft and should have no bite, yet they should not be mushy.
  5. Enjoy this , that will impress your guests!

Ossobuco with safron risotto

So the other day I was wondering around the supermarket, trying to decide what meat to buy, when I encountered some beef shank slices and I decided I should really try making ossobuco (literary bone hole). And my BF being from Milan, I should really pair it with its traditional side of  risotto (me being from Bergamo would probably have paired it with polenta). So I looked around the internet and tried to figure out the perfect recipe and I am pretty happy with what I ended up preparing.

Here is what I did.

Ossobuco with safron risotto

Ingredients

Ossobuco

    • beef shank
    • tomato
    • onion
    • flour
    • 1/2 clove of garlic
    • 1 anchovies
    • organic lemon and orange zest
    • EVOO
    • salt
    • pepper

Saffron risotto

  • arborio rice
  • beef broth
  • saffron
  • EVOO
  • butter
  • grated parmesan

Directions

Ossobuco.

    1. I started up some diced onion in a pan with a bit of oil. While the onion were browning, I prepared the meat by lightly flouring it and cut slits through the fatty sides of the meat (this prevents the meat from curling up while cooking).
    2. When the onions were soft and lightly browned, I moved them to the side of the pan and seared the meat on both sides. Once the meat was well seared, I added a splash of wine and let it evaporate. Once the wine is evaporated I added salt and pepper and a diced tomato and covered everything up and let the meat stew for 1 an 1/2 to 2 hours.

Saffron risotto

  1. About half an hour before the meat should be ready, I started working on the risotto.
  2. Safron risotto is pretty basic. You start out with diced onion or shallot in a bit of olive oil.
  3. When the onion is soft you add the rice and let it toast for a couple of minutes, then add white wine and when it is evaporated start adding broth (I usually use beef broth) one ladle at a time, waiting to add the next ladle until the broth has all been absorbed by the rice.
  4. You should need about a cup of broth for every 4 oz. of rice and it should take about 20 minutes to get the rice cooked. Half way through your cooking add the saffron (if working with stems you should soak them in broth or water before adding them, I usually work with saffron powder, which is easier to work with, but more difficult to find in the US).
  5. At the very end add a nugget of butter and some grated parmesan and stir until it all melts down in the rice. This helps with the creaminess of the risotto.
  6. Now, right before serving my ossobuco with the rice, I added to the ossobuco some finely chopped garlic (half a clove or so), parsley and anchovies, and some grated lemon and orange zest.
  7. Something weird happened to my ossobuco, in that the marrow somehow got lost in the sauce, usually it stays in the bone and you can scoop it out and eat it, I am not sure why this happened, but I will try experimenting.
  8. In general was a pretty good dish, and I think the orange (often not included) gives it a nice touch. BF was pretty happy and vouched for the authenticity of the whole dish. Mission Accomplished!

Sausage and savoy cabbage risotto

The other day I bought rice on the internet. Tired of going from shop to shop to find the right rice for my risotto, I went on Amazon, and thanks to my BF prime subscription (you get free 2 day shipping) I ordered about 9lb of riso bello arborio rice. When it got home I decided I had to cook it asap, and I knew I wanted something hearty and I also knew I had some savoy cabbage in the fridge that had been there for a while and needed to be cooked. I started thinking and I decided sausage and savoy cabbage should be a pretty good combo.

The next day, we went climbing with a friend and at the end we were starving, so I decided to throw together a dinner for all of us based on the sausage and savoy cabbage rice. it was pretty good thinking! We loved it. I even got a message from my friend the day after saying the rice was great and we (i.e., me) should make some more risotto soon.

Sausage and savoy cabbage risotto

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. of arborio rice per person
  • 1 cup of broth per person
  • 1/2 lb of sausage
  • 1 small savoy cabbage (napa cabbage would also work)
  • EVOO
  • pepper

Directions

  1. I started out by roasting up some sausage taken out of its encasing in a bit of oil. While the sausage was roasting, I cleaned my savoy cabbage from its tougher leaves, cut it into strips and washed it. I then added the cabbage to the sausage and salted it lightly to help it wilt. When the cabbage was wilted, I added the rice (about 4 oz. per person) and I let it toast for a couple of minutes. When the liquid from the cabbage had been absorbed I started adding beef broth. As with all risotto, you add the broth one ladle at a time, waiting for all the broth to be absorbed before adding a new ladle of broth. To cook your risotto, it should take about 1 cup of broth per 4 oz. of rice and about 20 minutes from when you start adding the broth. Finally, right before serving, I added a generous amount of black pepper.
  2. Loved it! Need to do this again! Will not invite my friend, so I have one less person to share this risotto with!

Mushroom risotto recipe

Yesterday coming home from a trip up North had to use some food that had been in the fridge for too long… Plus we wanted to eat something like pasta or rice or anyway not meaty. I had mushrooms and ricotta and some very sad looking onion. I thought hard and I decided to go with mushroom risotto.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. of arborio rice per person
  • 1 cup of beef broth per person (broth from bullion cubes work fine too)
  • mushrooms (as many as you like)
  • onion
  • parmesan
  • ricotta (optional)
  • white wine
  • parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. I started out by sauteeing some onions and slicing some cremini mushrooms. I probably had about 1 lb of mushrooms. When the onion was soft and translucent I added in the sliced mushrooms and let them cook a bit. I also Added my beef bullion cube so that the mushrooms could flavor up nicely. After most of the water from the mushrooms had evaporated I added my rice and let it toast for a couple of minutes. I then added white wine and when it evaporated I started adding boiling water (I had already put in the bullion cube) one ladle at a time as usual.
  2. About halfway through cooking, I added in some diced Parmesan crusts I had. Although you normally add cheese right at the end, if you use cheese crust you need to give them a bit of time to soften up, so if you go with crust add them half way, if you do regular grated cheese add it at the end.
  3. When the rice was basically done I stirred in about 2 spoons of leftover ricotta and some parsley. The ricotta is totally optional, It gives the risotto additional creaminess, I just happened to have some leftovers.
  4. Serve up warm with extra parmesan and pepper for the diners to add.