A Warn Greeting to Winter
The history of this recipe was born one evening, during a tasting dedicated to the pairing of beer and cheese in the company of my friend Gian Paolo. Between a meeting of flavors and the other, at some point an encounter between a blue cheese and a wonderful Rochefort pop up. After a few minutes of contemplation, Gian Paolo comes out with an illumination: he remembers a risotto that was eating at a restaurant, closed in the meantime, in which they associated Roquefort with Rochefort. Over the captivating assonance of the name, the combination of flavors must have been explosive. So I promised myself to try to revive this wonder on the grid before the end of the winter.
For those unfamiliar with them, we present the protagonists of this recipe. Roquefort is a blue cheese among the best known and appreciated in the dairy tradition of southern France. It’s a great personality cheese, made with milk from the Pyrenees sheep and aged in natural caves. The Rochefort is a Belgian Trappist beer, dark, compact, warm with a unique complexity, with notes of candied fruit, spices and caramel. The idea of joining them in a risotto is close to perversion.
Just the time for going into the details of the recipe and I was already virtually in front of my new Genesis II, curious to see how would have behaved. Of course to make the risotto I will use the faithful cast iron Wok. In terms of ingredients, between the various types of Rochefort, I chose the 8 which cause I think it to have the most suitable characteristics for the purpose, with a very rich profile without reaching the austerity of 10. As rice is usually chosen the parboiled cause it sustain well the impetuous heat of cast iron. Choosing other types of rice, especially the ones for risotto, exposes you to a “technique”cooking: in other words you can not afford to make any mistake. Aware of this, the temptation to seek a memorable dish, makes me choose a 18 months aged rice, just to have some fun ‘.
Ingredients (per 6 people):
1 Kg 18 months aged rice
6 slices of Roquefort
2 cl.33 bottles of Rochefort
2 Pumpkin cubes
2 spoons of granular broth
1 spoon of Black Pepper
- As first, I finely chopp shallots and pumpkin, which as Gian Paolo has reported, they were the ingredients used by the restaurant as a basis for the sautéed. Then I open the two bottles of Rochefort and towards half in a glass of one of the two. In the glass, add the grainy broth and blend with a spoon until it has melted. I suggest you to choose a vegetable broth, not a meat one: here the flavors are already sufficiently intense.
- Reheat well Wok on gourmet grill with a little oil in and we do fry the chopped pumpkin until it softens. I then add the shallot and when the sautéed takes on a golden appearance and inviting look, I add the rice to well toast, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once satisfied, I expand it well and pour in the middle the still full bottle of Rochefort, stirring constantly. The scent of caramel and candied fruit that is released is something crazy.
- As the rice absorbs the beer, add water to continue cooking. When you cook a risotto on cast iron the water must be always cold and always poured adding it around the edges and not at the center. Cast iron retains heat so much that if we would use the hot one, it would steam even before the rice will be able to see it. Pouring it on the edges instead, it becomes almost boiling before it gets. When the rice is half cooked, add the glass of beer and broth and continue stirring.
- When I finally arrived at virtually completed cooking, instead of adding the last dose of water, I add half a bottle of beer still left. This final addition will give to risotto all the fragrant smells of Rochefort, without the heat can spoil them. I recommend you keep your risotto pretty wet, more than you would do with the classic home version. Even when you will take the cast iron off from the fire, it will continue to simmer the rice while serving and you will easily perceive that half of your dishes would be too dry.
- At finished cooking, I cut the Roquefort into slices about half a centimeter thick and put them directly in the dish, pour over the risotto and give a sprinkling of black pepper. To every forkful, rice with all the soft aromas of Rochfort mingles with the voluptuous bitterness of Roquefort almost melted: sublime.
It is a dish for special occasions, which deserves to be tried and tried. It ‘s almost a pity that the winter is over. Do not mind a bit to you also?