Many moons ago I was in Naples and met a priest.
Or, rather a defrocked priest. He was Dutch and had spent many years in the church only to find that the vows of silence and the detachment from people was too hard for him to continue to do, and so, keeping his vows, he dedicated his life instead, to a small hotel owned by a friend. He was a one man show: receptionist, maid, breakfast cook, waiter, bell boy. When the kids were in bed we spent the evening talking, for hours. The owner of the hotel was a chef and author. The Priest, on finding out then I had a restaurant, gave me his friend's book as a gift. On my last evening he said, "I'm on night duty (he always was anyway). What did I understand from that? The priest was ready to defy his vow of celibacy. Did we? No. His God was against it. Unexpectedly, my estrogen levels dropped and playtime was off the menu.
Every time I make a recipe from the book he gave me I think of him. Especially, the one called Drunken risotto, I'm sure there's a lot we can read into that. It was the first recipe I tried and made it for my family, including my father and his wife in Venice a week later. It is delicious and became one of our family favorites.
Recently I used the same recipe to make arancini balls, stuffing them with gorgonzola. Instead of the usual tomato/basil sauce I thought to try chimichurri with it. It works.
DRUNKEN RISOTTO WITH GORGONZOLA
50g olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
400g carnaroli rice, or similar
500ml sangiovese wine or similar
1250ml vegetable stock
freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
250g gorgonzola or similar
50ml whole milk
Over medium heat warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauce until translucent. Add rice and toast, stirring for 3 minutes. Deglaze with wine and cook until all the wine has been absorbed. Add vegetable stock in 100ml increments, allowing each time for the liquid to absorb into the rice. Continue stirring until the rice is cooked and creamy. Remove from heat, add the butter and season with pepper and salt. Mix well.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the gorgonzola until melted. Add the milk, a little at a time, until creamy and smooth.
Divide the risotto and create a well int he middle. Pour the melted gorgonzola into the middle. Serve immediately.
If you'd like to make the Arancini balls. Leave the risotto in the fridge overnight. Cut the cheese into small pieces (no need to use the milk). Wet your hands and use 1 heaped tablespoon per arancini, Hollow out the centre with your thumb and add in the cheese, seal well. Dip in egg, then breadcrumbs and fry.