black pepper and taleggio risotto

“light-yet-powerful black pepper, sage and taleggio risotto, made with aged carnaroli: a collection of separate grains suspended in the most brilliantly flavoured and textured liquid with dollops of molten cheese and micro-shavings of lemon zest.

brilliant simplicity of the made-to-order risotto marrying the richness of taleggio with the punch of black pepper."

doesn’t that sound amazing? i read this about a dish cooked by australian chef jonathan barthelmess and given i’m unlikely to make it to his restaurant any time soon i decided to try and create it myself.

i made a simple risotto, omitting any flavouring beyond garlic, onion, wine and stock until the end. when the risotto was ready i stirred in a heaped tablespoon of grated parmesan, the grated zest of a lemon and about a  teaspoon of roughly ground black pepper (keep tasting as you add it until you get a peppery kick that goes beyond the usually seasoning that you’d add). i then added the cubes of taleggio, stirred briefly, covered and left to rest for a moment while i fried some sage leaves in olive oil until crispy (it just takes a few second).

when i served the risotto the taleggio cubes were only just starting to melt, making it look and taste very decadent. this wasn’t the “light-yet-powerful” dish i read about – i think 150g of cheese between the two of us was a bit excessive! however, the flavours did work well together while still being distinct. i didn’t have enough sage to make this a real feature but would be interested to try and build this flavour up a bit more. i think some shredded cavolo nero stirred through would also work really well.