Risotto with Strawberries, Blue Cheese & Toasted Black Pepper

My husband and I both swooned over this risotto at Cinghiale last week. It was the kind of dish I just had to re-create at home, which is exactly what I did last night. Success! Wow was this ever delicious. I will be making this risotto every spring when the strawberries are perfect. I made it up as I went along, but I did manage to put together a basic recipe for future reference. See below:

Risotto with Blue Cheese, Strawberries & Black Pepper

Risotto with Blue Cheese, Strawberries & Black Pepper

Ingredients:

1 cup arborio or other risotto rice

1 cup dry white wine

3 to 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (get this hot on the stove. It needs to be hot as you incorporate the liquid into the risotto)

1 cup or so of fresh, ripe strawberries, halved or quartered if large

Plenty of freshly ground black pepper (I used quite a bit, about 1/2 TBSP, as I love the combination of berries and black pepper, so you’ll have to play with the quantity).

Blue cheese (pick a soft type so that it melts seamlessly into the risotto. I used Point Reyes and it was outstanding, certainly a gorgonzola would also be delicious). I used about 3/4 of a cup, but would definitely go with a full cup next time as the blue cheese flavor was very light.

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP unsalted butter

Fresh basil, chopped

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper and stir, allowing the pepper to toast, about 2 to 3 minutes. Dump in all of the risotto rice and stir, allowing the rice to toast slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cup of white wine and stir until it evaporates. Immediately start adding the hot broth to the risotto 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is incorporated before adding additional broth. Keep adding the broth slowly and stirring the risotto until the grains become tender, creamy and al dente, about 20 minutes total. (You may not need all of the broth). Once risotto is done, lower the heat and stir in the butter until incorporated, then stir in  all of the blue cheese until melted and incorporated. Add salt and additional pepper to taste. Remove from heat and fold in most of the strawberries (save some to add on top of each bowl once plated). Scoop risotto onto plates, sprinkle with reserved strawberries and chopped fresh basil. Serves 4.

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6 thoughts on “Risotto with Strawberries, Blue Cheese & Toasted Black Pepper

  1. My husband usually does not enjoy blue cheese but adored this dish. But. to answer your question, yes, I think goat cheese would work, but I don’t think the dish will shine. Try the blue, it won’t kill you. 🙂

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