I love risottos. Even more than I do pastas; they’re much more of a blank canvas, and their inherent creaminess means that flavours can be added to them without the need of an extra sauce. Basically, any flavour combination that you like can probably be incorporated well into a risotto somehow.
So, I tried this one out the other day, I wanted to do a Waldorf Salad but as a risotto… turned out really nicely. It’s just a standard risotto with the apples, toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese added at the end. The result was a fairly light and very delicate dish, if I have any qualms with the dish it’s that I probably would use cider or apple juice instead of wine at the start, and I would’ve garnished the plate with some nice arugula. Pretty simple; hope you enjoy 🙂
Serves 4 as a first dish or a side
250g of Arborio Rice
1L of good quality chicken stock (good chicken stock is the foundation of flavour for a risotto and so must be good stock for the end product to really taste good)
1 medium onion or large shallot chopped
1/4 cup of red wine (I would’ve liked to use apple juice or cider with this recipe but sadly didn’t have any at home, I think it would’ve really made a difference)
Couple of lugs of olive oil
100g of Gorgonzola cheese, cut into pieces (my wife reckoned it needed more cheese, but she’s a self admitted cheesophile, I fear that any more might overpower the rest of the dish)
A large handful or roughly chopped (or hammered) toasted walnuts
1 small fuji apple sliced into 3-4mm slices
As with any risotto, start by heating the olive oil in a large pot, over a medium high heat. Add the shallots and stir for about 2mins, then add the rice. It’s important to toast the rice in the beginning to make sure that the final product is of the right texture (not a mushy grain of rice with an undercooked interior). Saute the rice and shallots for about 4mins, until the rice just about starts to colour.
Add the white wine (or cider/apple juice) and cook for a few more minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed/evaporated. Lower the heat and add about 2 cups of stock to the rice. Stir constantly and continue adding the stock by the ladelful once absorbed. After about 15mins of stirring and adding stock, you should start to taste the rice for done-ness. The rice should be al dente. Risottos normally take about 18-20min, so at about 15-17min, add the cheese, apples and walnuts and continue to mix until cheese has melted and is incorporated.
Once the rice grains are of the desired texture, plate and serve the risotto immediately. Make sure that the risotto in your pot is a touch runnier than you would imagine wanting to eat it. Lots of the moisture in the pot will be absorbed by the time you serve it. Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan over the top and dig in!