We did It! (Sortof) Roasted Pistachio Gorgonzola Risotto
Shhhh! (peeking around corner & hoping Joe H. has hopped on that plane to Italy, because he will have a friggin' heart attack when he reads what we did to his recipe. I'm actually blaming all changes on mom as she has her own special way of interpreting things. Since she will probably read this, I'll leave it at that - for now. Will repeat recipe with our modifications in caps.
" For those on this board who are into cooking make this EXACTLY the way I describe. Don't make it if you CHANGE ANYTHING. This is expensive and somewhat time consuming but it will be the most intensely flavorful dish of its kind that you will ever eat. Again, make absolutely certain that you use EXACTLY the ingredients that I describe. As much as anything this is a technique dish but when you get it down you will absolutely WOW your friends or customers.
TOASTED PISTACHIO GORGONZOLA DOLCE RISOTTO
From Joe Heflin
1 pound vialone nano arborio rice (carneroli is
acceptible as substitution)
MOM'S RICE JUST SAID 'RISOTTO' ON IT
1/4 cup olive oil (as good as you can find, i.e. Badia Coltibuono, Castello di Ama, etc.)
TRADER JOE'S RIVIRERA LIGURE
one sweet onion (Vidalia, Texas Sweet, etc.) finely
chopped to equal one cup
THIS SHE OBEYED
1 1/2 cups chardonnay (I use Beringer or a wine at
least equal to this-NOT a cheap wine.)
MY J LOHR, SO I THINK WE'RE OK HERE
2 cups chicken stock (REAL chicken stock, not from a can or a cube)(frozen chicken stock that sells for $3.99 for 8 ozs. is OK) Use WARM chicken stock that you keep heated in a separate pot over low heat.
RALPH'S BRAND CHICKEN STOCK - I NEARLY HAD A HEART ATTACK, BUT WAS ABLE TO UPGRADE THAT TO MY BUTTERBALL LOW SODIUM LOW FAT BROTH (STILL OUT OF A CAN)
7/8 pound Gorgonzola DOLCE (NOTE: You MUST use the dolce, no other gorgonzola will do. Don't make this if you can't find it!!!) The gorgonzola should be broken up into pieces or one to two inch soft chunks that have sat at room temperature for an hour or more.
THIS WE HAD! YEAH!! ONLY 1/2 LB, BUT AT LEAST IT WAS DOLCE!
1/2 pound unsalted butter (Pleugra, Kate's, European, absolute best you can find.) I slice the butter one inch thick and let the slices sit at room temperature for at least an hour.
MOM BROUGHT 1 CUBE CHALLENGE 'EUROPEAN' BUTTER. I POINTED OUT THIS WAS ONLY 1/4 LB, SO ADDED 1 OF MY CUBES OF REGULAR DANISH CREAMERY (SALTED - OOPS)
1/2 cup toasted (in oven for 3-4 minutes at 325 degrees) pistachios, chopped that you have shelled yourself. Use everything, chopped nut and "dust" but remember you want these for crunch as well as flavor. I might even use a bit more than this. Use unsalted pistachios.
WELL, ALMOST. THEY WERE SALTED & LUCKILY WE CHOPPED ABOUT 3/4 C AS MOM FORGOT ABOUT THEM IN THE OVEN (WHILE HELPING TO DEMOLISH OUR CHEESE PLATE) & BURNT HALF OF THEM.
10 ozs. Reggiano Parmegiano grated which will equal about three cups in volume. Grate this yourself from the best and most moist brick you can find.
I use an All Clad 3 1/2 quart pan and a wooden spoon with a flat side for stirring. In the sauce pan over medium to medium high heat (6 to 7 on a scale of 10) heat olive oil. Add onions until they sweat (several minutes).
SO FAR SO GOOD
Add rice and toast stirring constantly as it cooks for two minutes or so.
WHOOPS - WE WERE BUSY POURING WINE & THE BOTTOM BURNT SOME & WE FORGOT ABOUT THE TOASTING ALL OVER REQUIREMENT.
I LOOK OVER & SEE MOM FILL UP A BROTH CAN WITH WINE & POUR IT IN, POUR IN THE REST OF THE BOTTLE, THEN POUR IN SOME FROM HER GLASS. I SCREAM. SHE THOUGHT THE CANS WERE LESS THAN 8 OZ INSTEAD OF 14.5. WE NOW HAVE ABOUT 3 1/2 CUPS OF WINE IN OUR RICE.
and cook until completely reduced stirring frequently. When the wine has completely disappeared
THIS DIDN'T TAKE ALL THAT LONG, CONSIDERING ALL THE WINE IN THERE... BESIDES, WHAT DID HE MEAN ABOUT 'COMPLETELY DISSAPPEARED?' IT'S STILL A LITTLE DAMPISH
start adding stock one ladle at a time (about 2/3 cup) and cook stirring constantly until the rice absorbs the stock. Repeat until all of the stock is absorbed.
THERE WAS NO WAY THE RISOTTO WAS DONE AT THIS POINT, YET ALL THE BROTH HAD BEEN ADDED & ABSORBED. ENDED UP ADDING ANOTHER 1 1/2 CUPS OR SO (YUP, WE WERE DOWN TO THE RALPHS BRAND NOW) DID A WHOLE LOT OF STIRRING & TAKING TURNS AS WRISTS WORE OUT. HAD CONSUMED A WHOLE LOT MORE WINE BY THE TIME THIS WAS OVER.
After 8 or 9 minutes of this add the gorgonzola dolce. Continue to stir the cheese into the mixture for anothER four minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, toasted pistachios and reggiano.
SEEMED LIKE WAY TOO MUCH CHEESE, SO DIDN'T ADD IT ALL - AT THIS POINT I HAD GIVEN UP ON TRYING TO INPUT THE DEMANDS OF THE RECIPE UPON THE CHEFS
Gently stir all together thororughly.
Serve by itself in a large white plate or pasta bowl.
This is extremely filling and very intensely flavored. The above recipe will serve at least eight because of this. Again do NOT make this if you cannot find EXACTLY the ingredients called for.
FIVE OF US COULD ONLY FINISH ABOUT 1/2 OF EACH OF OUR SERVINGS, SO FEEDING 8 - 10 IS REASONABLE
This is risotto as an art.
Please post on here your results if you make it EXACTLY as I state. (OOPS!) I am sorry to be so overbearing but I have friends who try to take shortcuts (WE'RE IN TROUBLE NOW) and they don't understand why "mountain" gorgonzola doesn't have the sweetness or even the creamy texture of dolce or grana tastes different than reggiano. All arborio rice is not the same. If you take the time and trouble this is a dish that could be served at a three Michelin starred restaurant.
WELL, IN SPITE OF MASSACURING THE RECIPE, IT TURNED OUT ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS BEYOND BELIEF - ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY LIFE & DEFINITELY THE BEST RISOTTO. I WOULD BE CRYING WITH GRATITUDE IF I WERE SERVED THIS IN A RESTAURANT. IMAGINE HOW IT WOULD TASTE IT WE HAD FOLLOWED THE DIRECTIONS & INGREDIENTS EXACTLY? WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN NEARLY SO MUCH FUN OR HILARIOUS, BUT I DON'T KNOW IF WE COULD HAVE HANDLED IT.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ATTEMPT & LET US KNOW HOW IT TURNS OUT. I PROMISE TO TRY & MAKE IT THE RIGHT WAY NEXT TIME (WON'T ALLOW MOM NEAR THE SHOPPING LIST, EXCEPT FOR THE CHEESE. THAT SHE DID GREAT.)
(P.S. THANKS, RUSSKAR, FOR YOUR AWESOME ONION BREAD THAT ACCOMPANIED THE RISOTTO - THE FACT THAT NO ONE HAD A HEART ATTACK AFTER THIS MEAL WAS TOTALLY AMAZING)
re: jen maiser
I second that...And, the next time I have a goddess-evening chez galleygirl, the entertainment, and food, will be making that risotto...But I will enforce ORDER, and make them obey the recipe to the letter!!! (Something that you can't do if a mother is involved---hee, hee...)...Plus, all those people to take turns stirring... :)
re: jen maiser
My goodness, cooking with your mom sounds like a hoot!!! Wish I could have been a fly on the wall, and then on the plate. That's something that you were amazed by the results seeing how far you had strayed. Your description made it sound fabulous and takes some of the pressure off of those of us who don't have all the correct ingredients ready at hand!!
Let us know how it goes when you try the real ingredients and if it makes a difference.
Yes, you did read correctly. I lived in Germany & married well - a guy from Wisconsin. Hence the cheese addiction. We decided to flag the salad - way too healthy. Our visit to the Beverly Hills Cheese Store inspired this dinner. Mareval from Span, Chauvre from France, Manchengo & something else - it's all a blur now - were our starters. After the risotto, we opened bottle of Chateau Gloria St. Julien (I think the 4 girls were out of 4 bottles of the Chard by then) to enjoy with some incredibly well-aged Parmesano Reggiano - dessert, of course. Life is way too good - best friends (mine lived in Italy for 2 years & knows her cheeses & risottos), fun faux aunties, and, of course, mom.
This dish and Joe Heflin's over-the-top recipe and instructions are the kind of fanatic foodism I relate to. So I made Joe's risotto as well, soon after he first posted it-- went to Dean and DeLuca to find Vialone Nano rice and gorgonzola dolce, made sure I used homemade chicken stock, Plugra butter, good Chardonnay, etc. I also added less butter and cheese, and it was still the richest, most decadent dish I'd ever eaten.
And I told Joe about the alterations I'd made--in person. And lived to tell the tale. Seriously. I happen to live near Joe, and after reading his amazing posts for a couple of years, I decided to invite him over for dinner. No, I didn't make gorgonzola risotto -- but I knew he would appreciate my commitment to making authentic Mexican cuisine in the manner of Diana Kennedy. No shortcuts.
Joe really is a delightful dinner guest. He thought I was quite a risk-taker to invite him and his wife Carol, sight unseen, to my home. My feeling is-- 'hounds are not strangers at all. The folks who post regularly on the board are a fellowship of deliciousness. We enjoy talking about eating with each other, so it is safe to assume we would enjoy eating together while we talk about food.
There is a bit of the "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" about Joe Heflin. He wasn't the least bit put off by the changes I had made in his recipe, despite the hyperbole in his post. He was flattered that I had attempted it, and had gone to considerable effort to make it in the spirit of his search for excellence that is the subtext of many of his posts.
He really appreciated my Mexican food, and resonated with my own striving for depth of flavor and authenticity. We had a great time.
re: Joe H.
Zora, I also want to add that night (even though now it's been almost a year! Aargh! age...) was wonderful. There was a sense of adventure for Carol and I as well as a feeling that, of course, it would be successful as well as a helluva meal from someone similarly obsessed. In the year that's passed we've become friends and shared a number of meals. I thank you for that as well as your ability to cook as well as anyone who has ever contributed to these or any other board!
Oh............. Somebody's in so much trouble. :-)
Sounds like you had a lot of fun. I'm standing by my position that 2 cups of stock is not enough for 1 lb of rice which seems to hold up according to your experience. Did you have the heat very low at this point? I'm usually at least at medium low or else the stock is absorbed too quickly.
Let's see... tons of butter, Gorgonzola dolce and nearly a pound of Parmesan all for four people and you say it was tasty? The art of cooking? I'd say the excess of cooking. It does sound tasty, maybe...I'm just wondering, was it a tad too rich? I'm serious with this question. I love a good, decadent dish as much as the next person but there is such a thing as too much -- wherein you are just swimming in fat and oil and lose all balance in a dish.
re: Helena Gheist
I know exactly what you're talking about - sometimes, dishes are too rich, and while delicious for two or three bites, they become tiresome quickly.
Last year in San Sebastian, I had a dish at Zuberoa that involved bacon, fois gras and some sort of sauce that seemed like 200% fat. It was revolting - there was no balance.
Also, I find blue cheese best in small doses. As a sauce, or base, I find it overwhelming.
I'll try this recipe one day though.
re: Jon Leventhal
Do try it - somehow it all balances out & blends & isn't nearly like the mouthful of fat it sounds like it will be. Joe was correct - he said it would serve 8 to 10. There were 4 of us (plus dad who crashed the party & ate all of his - no surprise) & we ladies each finished about half of our bowls. It was still delicious to the last bite & it broke my heart to have to push it away. Try it before you condemm it - heavenly!
Torta and mom,
Thanks for the hilarious read. I'm sitting at my desk laughing. I think I'll try the recipe myself. I often cook with my own mom. She does not always . . .ummm . . . follow directions precisely, and our results are sometimes a surprise. She has taught me to improvise more, however, which is a good thing.
hysterical! i printed up the original recipe yesterday, and today i've printed your post
to show my mom(and all my other cooking buddies).
this is pretty much exactly what happens when we cook together. lots of wine, an involuntary disregard of the recipe, but usually with great results anyway.
our philosopy regarding food is that the cooking is the fun part and the meal is our reward for having all that fun.
I laughed out loud reading this.
I've had Joe's recipe in the back of my mind for a few years now since I first read it. Unexpectedly last night, while stopping in to WF for some quick provisions after an exhausting 12-hour shift, I saw on the sign outside-- gorgonzola dolce on sale, $4 off regular price, sale ending today!! AH! I perked right up, telephoned the boy-- can you look up how much gorogonzola dolce? So I'l be off early tomorrow morning to collect the rest of the ingredients. I can't wait to give it a try. FINALLY!
I also loved reading Zora's account of her invitation to Joe. It truly makes me smile thinking about how food brings people (even essential strangers) together. I really do love being part of this CH community.
That was brilliant! I've never thought I would laugh reading at a recipe!
Cooking and eating at your home must be a great fun! (just laughed a bit more on the comments of "torta basilica's former mother")
I've just made it from the 'original recipe' and it's weird how focus got completely changed from the recipe to the discussion on how 'EXACTLY' things should be made.