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.
1Put 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.
2When 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".
3Add 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.
4After 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).
5When 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".
6Check for salt and pepper, and decorate with walnuts and slices of pear. Serve with more grated Parmesan on the side.