This 9-ingredient Gorgonzola Risotto topped with pears and walnuts is creamy, comforting, and so richly flavorful!
There must be a reason why risotto makes it to (almost) every restaurant menu, right? In the eyes of many, risotto is a rich, flavorful, and "sophisticated" dish. But that does not mean it's complicated to make, and it shouldn't stop you from cooking it at home. If you're a risotto fan and love pears and the rustic flavor of gorgonzola cheese, then you certainly won't regret making this Gorgonzola Risotto (and this Gorgonzola Pear Pizza too!).
This Gorgonzola Pear Risotto is topped with sweet sauteed pears and crunchy bits of walnut. It makes a perfect elevated comfort food dish - perfect for date night and will definitely wow your guests! This risotto is everything it should be - creamy, rich, and full of sweet pear and earthy gorgonzola flavors. And cooking risotto does not have to be a tough task; just follow the step by step instructions and photos below, and you'll find yourself cooking this Gorgonzola risotto over and over again in no time!
What is Risotto?
Risotto is a dish which is popular in north Italy. The main ingredient used is a particular type of rice (more on that below) which is cooked al-dente in simmering broth until it reaches a deliciously creamy consistency. In Italy, risotto is commonly served as a first course before the main meal, but depending on serving size, it can make a satisfying and filling main course too.
Whilst risotto always contains cheese, other toppings vary considerably. Popular toppings include wild mushrooms, seafood, and meat.
What Type of Rice Works Best for Risotto?
The type of rice used for risotto is what makes or breaks the end result. The best types of rice suitable for risotto are short-grain Italian types, with the most common being "Aroborio", "Carnaroli" and "Vialone Nano".
In most countries, the most popular and widely available risotto-rice type is Aroborio.
Choosing the right type of rice is an important first step when making the perfect risotto!
Ingredients and Variations
Rice - Naturally, the most important ingredient here. Use short-grain rice suitable for risotto such as Aroborio or Carnaroli rice. As always, I recommend using kitchen scales (rather than measuring cups) to weigh your ingredients for an accurate ingredient ratio.
Stock - Stock is another important ingredient for risotto. Vegetable stock works perfect for this recipe. You can use 1 or 2 stock cubes dissolved in 5 cups of water. The stock must be simmering on a stovetop at all times during the cooking process (this is really important!).
If you like, you can also add some fresh leftover vegetables to the stock such as carrots and celery. You can also use homemade vegetable stock.
Butter - You will need some butter to start cooking the rice in (you need to make sure that the rice is well coated with butter when you start cooking), and also some to add the end (added once the risotto is cooked through and off the heat).
You will also need some butter for sauteeing the pears.
If possible, use unsalted butter.
Oil - A tiny bit of good quality extra-virgin olive oil will do the trick for sauteeing the shallot.
Cheese - You will need two types of cheese for this recipe: Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheese.
Gorgonzola typically comes in two types; "piccante" and "dolce". I recommend using gorgonzola "piccante" for this recipe. Gorgonzola piccante has a slightly spicy taste and is more aged than the "dolce" type.
Ideally, use freshly grated Parmesan cheese as it tends to taste better and will melt more smoothly than store-bought grated cheese.
Shallot - This will be used for the base of the risotto.
Pears - You can use any type of pear that is available to you. You will need one large pear or 2-3 smaller pears. For this recipe, I used Coscia pears. You will need to core and thinly slice the pears before sauteeing them in butter. Of course, you can add more or less pears to your liking.
Walnuts - Walnuts are optional but I highly recommend throwing in a handful for added crunch. Plus, they pair beautifully with pear and gorgonzola flavors.
How to Make Gorgonzola Risotto
Start by simmering the vegetable stock in a saucepan. Make sure that the stock is kept simmering throughout the duration of the risotto cooking process.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute a finely diced shallot until soft (2-3 minutes). Then add butter, and once melted, add the risotto (do not rinse the rice before).
Stir the rice frequently (but not constantly) using a wooden spoon. You need the rice to be fully coated with butter. The rice should turn glossy and slightly transparent.
Slowly start adding warm vegetable stock from the saucepan (2-3 ladlefuls) to the risotto. Bring the risotto to a slow simmer. You need to keep an eye on the rice at all times.
One the liquid starts to be absorbed, add more stock (1 ladleful at a time). Stir the rice frequently to introduce some air and make sure it doesn't dry out.
Continue adding stock and stirring frequently until the rice is cooked (al-dente). This will take around 18-20 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked, turn off heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly-grated Parmesan and Gorgonzola cheese and stir well until combined whilst the rice is still warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In the meantime, prepare the pears.
Wash and slice pears in half (no need to remove the skin). Core and thinly slice them into wedges. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and add pears. Make sure the surface of each slice of pear touches the bottom of the skillet. Add chopped walnuts if using. Saute pears for 2-3 minutes on each side (until slightly golden brown) and serve over cooked Gorgonzola risotto.
Tips for the Perfect Risotto
- Keep stock at a simmer at all times whilst cooking risotto to ensure a constant temperature between the stock and the risotto.
- Add stock slowly (1 ladleful at a time) and only once the liquid starts to be absorbed. Adding too much stock at once will leave you with soggy rice.
Adding too little will cause the rice to burn. You will need approximately 4-5 cups of stock for this recipe.
- Stir the rice frequently, but not constantly, to introduce some air.
If you don't stir frequently enough, the rice will stick to the bottom of the skillet and burn.
If you stir constantly, you will introduce too much air. This will cool down the risotto too quickly and the end result will be a gluey risotto.
- Keep the rice at a medium simmer throughout the cooking process. The heat should neither be too low nor too high.
- Add parmesan and gorgonzola cheese once rice is cooked through and heat is turned off.
Make sure the risotto is completely cooled before storing. Store cooked gorgonzola risotto in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
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- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter (divided)
- 1 small shallot finely diced
- 220 g risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli type)
- 60 g Gorgonzola cheese (piccante type)
- 30 g Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- salt and pepper to taste
Pear and Walnut Topping
- 1 large pear (or 2 small pears) cored, halved, and sliced
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. walnuts chopped (optional)
- Place vegetable stock in saucepan and bring to a simmer. (Vegetable stock needs to be kept simmering throughout the risotto cooking time).
- In a large deep skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add diced shallot and saute until soft and transluscent (about 2-4 minutes).
- Add 2 tbsp. butter to skillet and once melted, add risotto rice. Stir frequently (not constantly) using a wooden spoon until rice is fully coated with butter and becomes slightly transparent and glossy.
- Add around 2-3 ladlefuls of warm vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Stir gently until liquid is absorbed. Make that the rice does not dry out at any point.
- Continue adding stock (1 ladle at a time), stirring frequently and repeat these steps until rice is al-dente (around 18-20 minutes).
- Once rice is cooked, remove skillet from heat. Stir in 2 tbsp. of butter, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and gorgonzola. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve risotto with sauteed pears and walnuts.
Pear and Walnut Topping
- Cut pears in half, core them, and slice into thin wedges.
- Heat 2 tbsp. of butter in a skillet and add sliced pears (make sure each pear slice touches the bottom on the pan). Add chopped walnuts if using.
- Saute for 2-3 minutes on each side, until slightly browned.
- Serve over cooked risotto.