Risotto with Gorgonzola, pear and walnuts

Pierre Ley


Typical of Northern Italy, risotto is a great all-times classic. This rather exotic, but still traditional, version uses a combination of fresh/dried fruit, white wine, blue cheese and parmesan for a dish that's high in taste, contrast, texture and flavour. My guests love it, and they all try it out at home as it's so simple to make. My secret is all in the peel of the pear, which I leave on for extra colour, flavour and crunchy texture. Watch a video of how I prepare this dish by clicking on the "video" icon underneath the picture on this page.

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5 Min


20 Min


1 c
italian rice (carnaroli, arborio or vialone nano)
1/4 pt
white wine, dry
1 qt
vegetable broth
1/2 small
pears (williams)
8 oz
gorgonzola blue cheese (or any soft blue cheese)
1 c
parmigiano-reggiano, grated
1 c
walnut halves
1 Tbsp
butter (unsalted)
1 Tbsp
olive oil, extra virgin
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions Step-By-Step

Put 1Tbsp butter and the olive oil in a large pan. Thinly slice the onion, and add it to the pan on a low heat. Don't wait for oil and butter to become too hot before you add the onion, as it might burn. If it becomes black, throw everything away and start over. Leave onion to soften.
When onion is soft, but not colored, add rice and turn heat on. Keep stirring the rice with a woodden spoon until slighty shiny and translucid. This operation is important. in Italian it's called "tostatura".
Add the wine. When it's evaporated, add the hot stock, little by little, and keep stirring your risotto. It needs to be always moist. When it dries up, add more stock.
After about 10 mins, add your pears, cut in chunks, with the skin on! this will add more color, flavour and texture. After a couple of minutes add the Gorgonzola. Keep adding stock until the risotto is perfectly cooked. This will take about 15 min from the moment you added the wine. if you run out of stock before the rice is done, no rpoblem: just add water (but make sure it's boiling hot).
When the risotto is cooked, turn the heat off. Now you can add the remaining butter, the walnuts, roughly chopped, and the Parmesan cheese. Stir vigorously for about half a minute, until risotto is creamy (but still al dente). This operation is called "mantecatura".
Check for salt and pepper, and decorate with walnuts and slices of pear. Serve with more grated Parmesan on the side.