10 October 2013

Risotto Pera & Gorgonzola

The combination of Gorgonzola with pear is legendary. Slices of pear are served with a piece of Gorgonzola after dinner but also on a pizza or in this case in a perfect marriage in my risotto. It is one of my favourite dishes in the Premiata Gnoccheria & Risotteria in Varese and I created this recipe after some experimenting in my kitchen. It is very easy, takes no time and so ideal for a quick meal for two or to impress a group of guests.

Ingredients (6 people):

  • 500gr risotto rice (I prefer Carnaroli)
  • ±100-150gr Gorgonzola piccante (the drier spicier one) + some slices for decoration
  • ±100-150gr Gorgonzola dolce (the creamy one, to give a nice texture to the risotto)
  • 2 pears (not too soft)
  • 15-20 walnuts (decoration)
  • 1,5l vegetable stock
  • 1 onion/sjalot
  • 50gr butter and olive oil
  • 2 glasses of dry white wine


  1. Skin the pears and slice one of them into small cubes (brunoise) of 4/5mm
  2. Slice the other pear in nice thin parts, you will use them for decorating the plates
  3. Clean the walnuts and shortly fry them in a dry pan (to get that extra nutty flavour out), careful not to burn them.
  4. Prepare nice plates with the slices of pear as sunbeams around the plate, put some of the walnuts on the plate
  5. Crush the rest of the walnuts into smaller pieces (no powder)
  6. Now start preparing the risotto:
    1. warm the chopped onion/sjalot in the butter and some olive oil until it glazes
    2. add the rice and have it fry (on low/medium fire) for about 1-2 minutes
    3. add 1 glass of wine to the risotto (and take a nip from the 2nd glass yourself)
    4. when the wine has evaporated add some of the stock
    5. it will take 15-20 minutes to cook the rice, keep adding small portions of stock, let the rice absorb it and do not try to stir too much (you will ruin the delicate outside of the grains)
    6. stay close to the fire, nip from the 2nd glass and watch
    7. after 15 minutes you should start tasting the risotto and judge the structure and taste. careful not to add too much (salty) stock, better start adding water if the taste gets too salty. 
    8. shortly before the risotto is ready you add the cubes (brunoise) pear to the risotto and the Gorgonzola piccante. carefully stir it until the Gorgonzola has meted into the risotto
    9. when the risotto is almost done lower the fire, add the Gorgonzola dolce, have it melt slowly into the risotto. Taste and maybe add some more spicy Gorgonzola if you like or the dolce if you are looking for more creaminess but not too strong blue cheese taste
  7. Now server the risotto on the plates and decorate it with a thin slice of Gorgonzola (picante or dolce, whatever you like) and sprinkle the crushed walnuts over it.
Feel free to add more cheese or pear, do whatever you like. The quantities are based on my experience and my taste, but you might prefer a stronger taste or a milder one...


04 October 2013

Pasta al Forno alla Daggy

-preparare a tomato ragù (2 hrs)
-boil 2 eggs for 10mins
-cook penne for 5mins
-mix penne and ragù and put in a dish
-smear some mascarpone on top (should be bechamelsauce but hey it's MY dish)
-slice the boiled eggs and spread over the pasta
-finish with a nice layer of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
put 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C

21 September 2013

Morazzone 21-9-2013


Morazzone 21-9-2013, a set on Flickr.
My back is finally not aching any more but my leg is still hurting a lot. But my osteopath recommended walking so this morning in stead of talking the car to get my cortisone injection and go and buy bread I went by foot and took my camera with me.

nice weather, mourning dew and the start of autumn resulted in some nice pictures of Morazzone and the field behind our house

14 August 2013

meeting with the wanderer

Michael and his lasagna
Yesterday Maddy, the girls and I met with Michael Lee Johnson. Michael is travelling to Beijing  with the help of contacts/friends/followers on Google+. Although he already bought a ticket to Beijing he decided (overnight) to change the flight into a challenge: travel from London to Beijing with only the help of Google+. So his trip is now sponsored by people and companies who follow his journey on that platform. Michael is staying in sponsored hotels or with people at their homes (like with his host in Milan Mara who you see on the photo with us), breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks are all sponsored or paid for (or not and than he doesn't have anything to eat or drink). He is not allowed to accept donations by the way. We bought him dinner last night (he choose lasagna) and tomorrow he will travel to Vienna by train. That train-ticket across the border is sponsored by my company Salesupply Italy, after all we at Salesupply help people (read: webshops) going cross-border!

Michael, I, Mara (in white) and Maddy
in front of the Duomo in Milano
Once he arrives in Beijing another, far more interesting, part of his journey starts: he is returning to London ON FOOT! He thinks he needs 3-4 years to walk it, meanwhile we can follow him via Social Media and SKY TV (UK). He walks, meets people, talk with people, stays with people, walks on, etc... He will need to cross desserts (Gobi), walk in wintertime through the north of China (-40 degrees), encounter (wild) animals, etc... and yet this trip is just an exercise for him. To proof to himself a bigger plan: walk from the utmost south of South-America all the way to Alaska, via the frozen Bering street into Siberia and back to London, no km by train, no car, not even a bicycle. That trip should take 12-15 years... is he mad? did he loose his mind? No, I don't think so. He says he always wanted to walk, to hike, to travel. He is inspired by some others that did this (sorry I forgot the names he mentioned), he wants to meet people and really get to know them (although he is a bit timid in the beginning)... and what better way to get to know people by walking through their habitat.

Although I would never (want to) do this myself I admire him for his determination!

Good Luck Michael, we'll follow you!

14 July 2013

enjoying Parco Valgrande

Living La Dolce Vitasun starting his descent over the Piemonte Alps seen from LavenoImbarcadero di LavenoAperitivo del Miralagoa wedding 500 from Zurich on the ferryImbarcadero di Laveno
Porto di Lavenohanggliders over Lavenotowards Lavenobye bye Verbaniaone of many waterfalls in the San BernardinoGiulia for a swim
enjoying the fresh water of the San Bernardino in San Bernardino Verbano (VB)we should bring better equipment next timeTorrente San Bernardino near Cicognaview from Agriturismo MerinaPolenta con Formaggio (polenta w/ cheese)Polenta con Brasato di Cavallo (Polenta w/ Horse Roast)
Antipasti at Agriturismo Merinagoat at Agriturismo MerinaAgriturismo Corte Merinathe entrance to Parco Valgrande and Cicogna

Today we went to Cicogna in the Parco Valgrande just above Verbania on the westside of Lago Maggiore. We enjoyed the beautiful environments (mountains, rivers and woods), a good mountain meal and afterwards we relaxed along and in the fresh water of the creek San Bernardino which flows into the Lago Maggiore a few kilometers ahead.

Back to Lombardy with the ferry from Verbania to Laveno where we enjoyed a stylish aperitivo before heading home.

30 June 2013

a day on the Lago Maggiore and in Stresa

Stresa 30.6.2013, a set on Flickr.
enjoying a beautiful summer day to have lunch on Isola dei Pescatori in the Lago Maggiore and walk through the streets of Stresa