What have Champagne and risotto in common? They are loved by many around the world. So today, I have a delicious combination of the two for you. Adding some pears in the mix as well. Because autumn.
One of the reasons I love the Italian cuisine is how easy most of its classic dishes are prepared.
And yes, this is still true for risotto. Though it will take a bit longer as the rice needs some time to cook, it is not a complicated dish if you follow some specific steps.
And no, you do not need to stir the rice all the time while it’s cooking. That’s a myth. No Italian will stand by the stove and stir the rice for 30 plus minutes.
That said, you need to be careful to add another layer of stock to the simmering rice at the right time. Because, you never add too much but you also need to make sure to always have still abundant stock in the pot, to avoid the rice will stick to the pot. Which means, you have to check the state of your rice regularly.
Another of the reasons I love the Italian cuisine is how easily most of the dishes can be tweaked to include new, innovative flavours or simply adjust to what fresh seasonal produce is available.
One of the most adaptable, in my opinion, is risotto. Indeed, there must be hundreds (thousands?) of different risotto recipes. With the range of flavours being added nearly endless.
Autumn might not be my favourite season but each year I get excited again making all sorts of different risottos with the large variety of fresh autumn produce, from pumpkin to brussels sprouts, cabbage, chestnuts, figs, pears, and grapes.
This pear-champagne risotto is a fantastic treat. It perfectly works as main course for a casual weeknight dinner but is equally perfect as a starter for something more festive.
It combines the sweet flavour of the pears and the slight acidity of the parmesan, which perfectly balances the sweetness of the pears.
You could of course make this recipe also using a more classic approach dousing your risotto with white wine. In this case, you could swap the parmesan for gorgonzola which will add a slightly tangier note to the dish.
However, I really recommend you try the champagne version at least once. You will not be disappointed. And probably can’t stop from making it again.
Recipe: Pear-Champagne Risotto
2 ripe pears, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon lemon juice
300 g risotto
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
350 ml Champagne (or a good quality sparkling wine)
400-500 ml vegetable broth
150 g freshly grated parmesan
Cut 1 ½ pears in small cubes. Cut the remaining half pear in thin slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
In a saucepan, heat one tablespoon butter over medium heat. Fry the onion until translucent. Add risotto and pear cubes. Stir well and fry for 2-3 minutes until the rice turns translucent.
Add champagne and cook until the champagne has evaporated, stirring occasionally.
Add the vegetable broth in small quantities, stir to combine and cook until the broth is fully absorbed. Continue to add more broth and cook until the rice is soft, for about 30 minutes.
Add 100 g parmesan and stir well to combine. Take from heat.
Heat the remining butter in a skillet, add the pear slices and fry until golden-brown.
Serve risotto topped with the fried pear slices and the remaining parmesan.