Chef Walter’s Flavors & Knowledge: Risotto with Pears & Taleggio Cheese
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert
Risotto is an Italian rice dish that can be time-consuming to prepare in the traditional way. When prepared well, it has a rich, creamy texture, with each individual grain of rice standing out clearly and having a hint of a bite, rather than being soft or mushy. Many Italian restaurants offer risotto, and it is also possible to make this dish at home. Many grocers also sell boxed versions, with the claim that cooks can just add water or broth, although purists believe that this results in an inferior product. Since I fall into that category, I suggest following the steps below and you will have a great risotto.
1 cup Arborio rice
4 pears Bosc varietal
8 ounces Taleggio cheese
1 glass of white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In order to prepare risotto with pears and Taleggio cheese, you need to peel and finely grind the shallot and brown it in a thick pan with butter, then add the rice, toast it and mix it properly. Blend with white wine until sublimation, than begin to gradually add the stock, keep on pouring it whenever the previous is soaked. Cook for 12 minutes circa. In the meanwhile, clean, peel and chop the pears, keeping a bunch of slices aside for decorations. Cut the other pears, some in small and regular cubes and some in slices to be mixed.
Remove the crust from Taleggio cheese and cut it into cubes, join them with rice and both pears cream and cubes and keep cooking for 10 minutes more, pouring stock, if needed. Remove risotto from the hob, cream with grated cheese and leave it rest for a few minutes. Decorate with pear slices and pepper.
Info on Taleggio cheese
Taleggio is a soft and washed-rind cheese made in Lombardy, with the Protected Designation of Origin with the Regulation CE 1107/96.
Production and seasoning of the original Taleggio DOP occur in specific territories. Belong to this geographical area the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Lecco, Lodi, Milano, Cremona, Como and Pavia, in Lombardy.
Taleggio should also present a mark on the rind, to certify its quality and origin, with three T and the number of the factory of origin. The mark with four circles fills the entire surface of the product and so it is partially evident even if we buy just one little piece of cheese. Each partner receives from Consortium an identification number that allows tracking cheese’s production.
For what concerns the production, the raw material of Taleggio is whole cow’s milk, with starter bacteria and rennet. Indeed, it is necessary to use rennet from calf and never from genetically modified microorganisms. As usually, after the coagulation there is the curd’s break that occurs in two moments. After that, the product can be put in specific molds. Ripening happens in rooms with a slightly high humidity for 18 hours. Stewing is very important, because during this step, curd becomes cheese and whey is ejected. The origin mark is placed on the flat surface of cheese during this phase and it represents a way to recognize cheese’s type once on the market.
Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking, School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog