Who knew, but real Fontina cheese is a DOP cheese from Piedmont. And I was not sure what “sweet Gorzongola” was, but the Mountain Gorgonzola from Zingerman’s Deli was delicious. As was the cream cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery, which I used instead of Mascarpone. I already had a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano from the Deli on hand, since it’s one of my kitchen staples.
I had wonderered if the Gorgonzola would overpower the other cheeses. Its flavor was noticeable in the taste of the final dish, but it really blended nicely, I could taste the Fontina and the Parm Reg too. The cream cheese added to the creaminess of the dish overall. I used my home-made chicken stock, which was pretty strongly flavored so added depth to the dish as well.
I noted that it really needs a garnish to improve the look. Perhaps in summer, a sliced-up ripe tomato and some basil leaves? Pictures follow, and then the recipe.
Four-cheese risotto ingredients
Coating the risotto in the butter and olive oil, before adding the broth
Adding the Parm Reg near the end, when the risotto is almost fully cooked
The sparkling white wine was used in the dish, and accompanied it quite well.
Here’s the recipe, slightly modified, from Autumn in Piemonte: Food and Travels in Italy’s Northwest, by Manuela Darling-Gansser
Risotto with Four Cheeses
(Risotto al Quattro Formaggi)
2.5-3 pints chicken (or veggie) stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
2 ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped (I just had a yellow onion)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 sprig rosemary
18 ounces risotto rice
4 fluid ounces dry white wine (I used a sparkling wine since that’s all I had on hand, worked great)
2 ounces Piedmontese Fontina cheese, cut into little cubes
2 ounces sweet Gorgonzola, cut into little cubes (I was not sure what the “sweet” meant, but I got “Mountain Gorgonzola” from Zingerman’s Deli, the flavor was wonderfully smooth
2 ounces Mascarpone – I used Zingerman’s Creamery cream cheese instead, worked great
2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (thank you Zingerman’s Deli)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring the stock to a boil.
In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan melt half the butter, then add the olive oil. Then fry the onion and garlic (do not let the garlic brown), adding the rosemary sprig when the onion begins to soften and become translucent.
Add the rice, coat it well with the butter and onions, cook for 1-2 minutes longer, then add the wine, stirring rigorously until all the wine has evaporated. Add half the boiling stock, stirring continuously. Add more stock a cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. (I used almost 4 pints of stock, rather than 3 pints.)
When the rice is nearly ready, after about 15 minutes (I found it took more than 20), add the cheeses, except the Parmesan, and dissolve them in the risotto. When the rice is done – it should be al dente, with a little residual bite in the center of the grains – take it off the heat, stir in the remaining butter and the Parmigiano. Discard the rosemary sprig. (All the leaves were gone from my rosemary sprig at this point, but I found the stem and pulled it out.) Taste for salt and add a bit of freshly ground pepper. Serve at once. It should be vey creamy and soft in consistency.