On Sunday, after a popular vote on Facebook (so if you're not fans of my Facebook fan page yet, what are you waiting for?), but also publicized on Twitter (again… aren't you following my sweet tweets, yet?! You're doing that on purpose, then!!), my Italian and foreign readers surprised me, choosing from four options that I give them the "slow horse", aka the recipe that I thought was less likely … and instead, the 30 voters (ok, this democracy exercise is still a bit lame, but the goal is to increase the pool of voters, and to use this method more often, if you like it) took me aback by choosing blue (cow) cheese and pears risotto: aren't they gourmet?!

As you may already guessed just casually reading my posts, love between me and cheeses is not just a fleeting one, but we have a stable, happy and long-term -very long, indeed- relationship! And, again, as you may have noticed by the varied presence of dairy products, I just love all cheeses, even the most stinking and difficult to love! Blue cheese (toma is a typical Piedmontese cheese) fits perfectly in this group of cheeses: this cheese, in fact, has a strong smell (euphemism), is very sharp and tasty, and it goes perfectly with the sweet and delicate taste of pears: folk wisdom in Italy says that the combination between cheese and pears is divine (and, let me say it, the combination between blue cheese and pears is beyond divine).

The blue cheese I used for this recipe is not the typical blue sheep cheese, more solid and compact (you can see it in its bright beauty in the picture above, on the right), but it's a blue cow cheese, very similar in consistency (but more intense in taste) to a shape natural gorgonzola cheese (you can see it in the same picture, on the left), both souvenir from a brief stay in Piedmontese Langhe.

So, once you have found the right cheese (this is the hardest part) and if you have some sweet pears, you'll have almost everything you need for this recipe.

BLUE CHEESE AND PEARS RISOTTO

Ingredients (5 servings)

* a knob of unsalted butter

* a little onion, finely chopped

* half a glass of white wine

* 500 g carnaroli rice

* 2 l vegetable broth (made with carrots, onion and celery and, if you want, a stock-cube)

* 3 medium size pears, diced (keep separate the cubes of the first two pears from the third one)

* 100 g blue cow cheese, roughly diced

Procedure

Melt a knob of unsalted butter in a large pan and let then fry the onion until golden. Now toast the rice for a couple of minutes and then add white wine and simmer until reduced. Add the cubes of two pears and then cover the rice with vegetable broth; then add more broth (a little at a time) until the rice is cooked, after about 18 to 20 minutes.

When the rice is almost cooked (2 or 3 minutes before it gets cooked), add the cubes of the third and last pear (which will remain crunchy). When rice cooking is complete, remove from heat and cream with blue cheese. Serve.

This is absolutely one of the most delicate and strong risotto that I have ever tasted … cheese and pears are unbeatable! Try it!

As you might have noticed in these months of blogging, I tend to use (sometimes even in ethnic recipes) regional products or, more generally, Italian products, for their incredible variety and quality, but also for the great love I feel for them. I hope that this love will shine through these pages and get abroad (I'm working on a guide to Italian ingredients for you, my foreign friends, to meet your difficulties with Italian products).

After this preamble (and you may ask yourself "why this?"), I take the opportunity to thank Manuela from Manu's menu for the shower of awards that she kindly passed to me… and I strongly recommend you to visit her blog: Manuela is an Italian girl now living in Australia, and her cooking blog is a fantastic culinary handbook for lovers of REAL Italian cuisine (not the Italian cuisine that often you can see around the world, that is not Italian at all). Her work is rigorous and trim, and shows a great love for our Italian cuisine, with some concessions especially to Australian and Indian cuisine.

As for the case of the other awards I received, there are two rules: I have to tell seven things you might not know about me (and who knows if you're interested?) and I have to pass these awards to fifteen other food blogs.

 

7 things you don't know about me

  1. I worked for two years in the kitchen of a kindergarten, so now I cut everything in "2 years child who could choke with a tomato cut too big" size.
  2. I own 3 different mobile numbers with 3 different mobile operators, "installed" on two different phones (a standard one and a dual sim one)… and all because I'm a telephone bill maniac: yes, even though it may seem strange to most of you, these 3 numbers allow me to halve (at least) my phone bill.
  3. I practiced swimming for most of my life, stopping just before the transition to competitiveness (it was a commitment incompatible with my studies). Even now I love swimming, and I consider water my element.
  4. Up to 2008, except for some brief periods of my life, I always worn my hair very short (crew cut)… from 2008 until today I have never cut my hair more than a few centimeters.
  5. I eat just about anything (I like kitchen experimentation and/or I always taste everything) … the only thing that I still refuse to eat are sugar beets, because I always disgusted its earthy smell. But sooner or later I'll try again to sample them.
  6. Since I was 6 years old up to 17 years old every summer I spent 15 days in summer camps, away from my parents. Every year I went to a different place and, in my last "trip" I spent 15 days cruising on a sailboat from Basilicata to several Greek islands (including Corfu), docking in several ports and marinas of southern Italy .
  7. I love painting, but I'm better at copying famous art works than painting my own compositions … maybe it's because I rarely had a great artistic inspiration!   

 
I'm very happy to pass these several awards to these 15 blog that I follow and love: take a look at them!Nami from

  1. Just One Cookbook
  2. Isabelle from Isabelle At Home
  3. Amie from My Retro Kitchen
  4. Christina from Dessert For Two
  5. Paula from Bell'Alimento
  6. Rochelle from Pretend Chef
  7. Lindsay from Rosemarried
  8. Dara from Cookin' Canuck
  9. Gourmantine
  10. Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
  11. Micheal from The Culinary Lens
  12. The nice couple from Do not call it Bolognese
  13. Chris from Gourmet Fashion
  14. Purabi from Cosmopolitan Currymania
  15. Krista from Budget Gourmet Mom

 

PS: I know that most of all these awards are made from and for women, but I wanted to reward also some male food blogger… they are so good!

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