Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gorgonzola and Leek Risotto

I'm counting down the days of work left this week.  Why do I only have three days left?  The reason is simple, come Friday at 8:00 am boyfriend and I will be winging our way to Seattle!  After a five hour flight from JFK to the west coast, we'll be heading to the port and boarding another cruise ship!

It's like 2012 is the year of the cruise vacation for us.  I'm thinking of booking us a Greek Isles cruise in the fall just to round out the year of sailing.  This time, boyfriend and I are heading north into the chilly waters off the coast of Alaska.  We will be floating through iceberg infested water, sailing with humpback whales and watching glaciers slowly creep toward the sea.  I'm looking forward to hearing my first glacier calf, does it really sound like thunder?

We are almost ready to go.  This weekend I went out and bought a winter coat.  With the blanket-jacket retired and sent to Goodwill and only my plum-colored wool coat hanging in the closet, I really needed something that would keep me warm and dry in the Alaskan summer.  While the middle of summer isn't the best time to search for a great winter jacket, I managed a great find at Century 21!  A sleek lime green, waterproof, hooded parka!

Now, if I could only decide what else to pack...

One Year Ago: Orange-Cinnamon Bread
Two Years Ago: Spanish Chicken with Mustard-Green Onion Sauce

Gorgonzola and Leek Risotto
Adapted from La  Tartine Gourmande

I could make risotto every night of the week and someone in this house would be very happy.  If I made this particular risotto everyday, I would have to spend a lot of time in the gym!  Some risotto recipes are light, full of vegetables and a great option for the calorie conscious.  This particular recipe is not one of those.  This risotto is creamy and rich, packed with three different cheeses and topped with buttered pears.  It is so good.

1/4 cup walnuts
2 Bartlett pears, peeled & cored
4 tbsp butter
4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 red onion, diced
2 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup Chardonnay
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
3 tbsp mascapone cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

Place walnuts in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until toasted.  Remove walnuts from the pan and chop.  Set aside and prepare the risotto.

Heat a large high-sided pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp butter.  Add pears and stir to coat in butter.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the pears are softened.  Remove pears from the pan and place in a bowl.  Let the pears hang out near the walnuts.

Add all of the chicken stock to a 4 quart pot and place over low heat.  Let this warm as you begin the risotto.

Add remaining 3 tbsp butter to the pan.  Add red onion, leeks and thyme, stir to coat in butter.  Allow vegetables to saute in the pan for 3 minutes or until they smell good!  Add rice and stir for 1 minute.  Add wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.  Add 1 cup of chicken stock, stirring occasionally until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, only adding more when the liquid is all gone.  This process should take about 20 minutes.  Taste test the risotto and cook until it is creamy and not crunchy.

Once the risotto reaches your desired texture, remove the pan from the heat.  Add the cheeses and stir until smooth.  Plate out each dish with 1 cup of risotto.  Add 2 tbsp pears, 1/2 tbsp walnuts and 1 tsp fresh parsley.  Enjoy the creaminess!
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