Figs, Pistachio and Gorgonzola Cheese Risotto
- 320g Riso Gallo Carnaroli Sustainable
- 12 ripe figs
- 20g grated Grana Padano
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 30g unsalted butter
- 60 g of gorgonzola ‘piccante’ (hard)
- 1 litre of vegetable stock (easily done with the onion trimmings)
- 80ml dry white wine
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- Rocket salad to garnish (Optional)
- 20g toasted pistachios
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Wash and gently pat dry the figs. When very ripe and sweet the skin is usually very delicate and thin, therefore I use them unpeeled. Cut them in half and pan roast them with olive oil and a knob of butter on high heat. After three minutes drizzle with balsamic vinegar and cook for one more minute, turn them gently and cook for 1 more minute. Set the figs aside to rest.
For the risotto.Gently fry the chopped onion in a small casserole dish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 6–7 minutes on low heat until golden.
In a large casserole dish, start to dry toast the rice on a low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. In this way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in a more uniform al dente rice. Keep stirring the rice, so it does not catch on the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour half a glass of the wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 16–17 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally, and make sure the rice is always covered with stock. Keep cooking and do not stir with too much energy as it could break the rice grains.
When halfway through the cooking, add the cooked onion. Once the time is up, taste the risotto and if you’re happy with the texture remove it from the heat. If you want the rice a little bit softer, cook for another minute.
This step is called “mantecatura” to make the risotto creamier increasing its natural ooziness with the right gesture and movements. Add the grated Grana Padano cheese and butter to the rice. Stir to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. At this stage I like to add an extra splash of wine for added acidity and if the risotto dries up, you can still add a little bit of hot stock. Season to taste.
Plate the hot risotto straight away, top with the caramelised figs and toasted pistachios and crumble over the gorgonzola cheese. Garnish with a few leaves of rocket salad and a little drizzle of balsamic before enjoying.
This dish works beautifully even with ripe raw figs.You can also avoid the butter completely and add the gorgonzola during the ‘mantecatura’ step for it to melt, as if it was the butter, for a lighter supper.