Eating Local: Claude-Olivier Marti presents Risotto with Bleu de Grangeneuve and Botzi Pears

October 28, 2014

Perhaps one of the biggest misunderstandings about Swiss culture is that our food consists only of dried meats and melted cheese. Of course, this over-simplification has its roots in the fact that our meats and cheese are just that good. After all, once you’ve tasted the local raclette, melted over a wood fire oven in a remote chalet somewhere in the mountains, why would you ever want to eat anything else?!?

If you’re like us, you’ll eat far more than the medically-recommended quantity of cheese and meat each year under the guise of eating local and supporting Swiss culture ;). But from time to time, you’ll wish that you could explore the more nuanced side of Swiss cuisine. With the gorgeous farm land and fresh market offerings, there must be more to it, non?

For ideas, we turned to some local food bloggers here in Switzerland and asked them to help us by sharing recipes that put great seasonal products to use while also capturing the spirit of Swiss dining. We hope you’ll enjoy branching out with us and giving these dishes a try!

Bon appétit! Buon appetito! En guete! Bien appetit!

We are beyond delighted to launch this new series with a recipe from Claude-Olivier Marti of 1001 Recettes. A doctor in molecular biology and a medical researcher, he moonlights as an amateur chef extraordinaire. When we were first directed to his blog this summer we were certain that he worked in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant and were stunned to discover that food is not actually his profession – it’s purely his passion.
While his blog recounts the beautiful culinary conquests of his travels to far off corners of the earth (he has even written an awesome Asian food digital cookbook) as well as influences from neighboring countries such as France and Italy, his love for the flavors of his native Fribourg is immediately evident. For anyone who doubts that sophisticated Swiss food is possible, we encourage you to visit here, here and here for a few examples of his mastery.
This blog makes us want to clear our calendar, hit the Saturday morning market and spend hours testing and tasting in the kitchen. If you need inspiration, Claude-Olivier’s creations will definitely awaken your inner chef. Despite their sophistication, his recipes are surprisingly simple and approachable. Recipes are available in French, but we think that with a little help from Google Translate, non-French speakers won’t have any trouble following along – there’s even a handy translation feature on the blog! For this post, we are including Claude-Olivier’s original French text and our translation.
So, without further ado, we give you Claude-Olivier Marti and Risotto with Bleu de Grangeneuve and Botzi Pears…
Autumn Risotto with Bleu de Grangeneuve and Botzi Pears by Claude-Olivier Marti of 1001Recettes
Here we have a recipe that spotlights some of the best products of the region that I come from – Fribourg! This autumn risotto brings together both the creaminess and power of a blue cheese called Le Bleu de Grangeneuve as well as a sweet and salty side with Botzi pears. Allow me to explain…
The state of Fribourg is largely known for two types of cheeses – Gruyère AOC and Vacherin fribourgeois AOC. These cheeses have distinct characters which come together to create our famous fondue moitié-moité! The state is overflowing with other specialties that are a bit less known such as le bleu de Grangeneuve. A product of cow’s milk (unlike Roquefort which comes from sheep’s milk) is aged between two and three months and is made throughout the year exclusively in the region of Grangeneuve. It is part of the produits de terroir of Fribourg.
The second key ingredient is the Botzi pear, the only fruit to have the label AOP (Appellation d’Origine Proteégée) in the state of Fribourg. The name “Botzi” comes from the local patois meaning “clustered” or “in bunches.” Indeed, this little pear grows in clusters on the tree. Its skin is a light brown and the flesh of the fruit is firm and rather grainy when eaten raw. It is often eaten cooked (in a mixture of water, sugar and spices) and plays a key role in the Bénichon meal that we eat to celebrate the end of harvest in Fribourg.
I also added two ingredients typical of Fribourg: a cheese wafer made from Vacherin and sesame seeds and I used Chasselas wine from Vully to make the risotto. The state of Fribourg is not well known for its wine production, but Vully has made some wonderful progress in recent years and is now making some excellent, high-quality local wine.
Voici une recette de saison, faisant la part belle aux produits de ma région, Fribourg ! Un risotto automnale mariant le crémeux et la puissance d’un fromage type bleu, le Bleu de Grangeneuve et un côté sucré-salé avec la poire à botzi. Mais laissez-moi vous expliquer !
Le canton de Fribourg est réputé principalement pour 2 fromages : Le Gruyère AOC et le Vacherin fribourgeois AOC. Deux fromages de caractère, qui rentrent dans la composition de notre fameuse fondue moitié-moitié ! Le canton regorge encore d’autres spécialités, parfois un peu moins connues. C’est le cas pour ce bleu de Grangeneuve. Il est produit à partir de lait de vache (et non pas de brebis comme le Roquefort) et est affiné 2-3 mois. Il est produit exclusivement dans la région de Grangeneuve toute l’année. Il fait parti des Produits de Terroir du Pays de Fribourg. 
Le 2ème ingrédient phare de cette recette est la poire à Botzi, seul fruit à avoir une AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée), produite dans le canton de Fribourg. « botzi » signifie en patois « en grappe ». En effet, cette petite poire pousse en grappe sur les arbres. Sa peau est brun clair et sa chair est ferme et assez granuleuse à cru. Elle se déguste souvent cuite (dans un mélange d’eau, de sucre et d’épices) et fait partie intégrale de notre menu de Bénichon (fête la fin des moissons, fête typiquement fribourgeoise).  
J’ai encore ajouté 2 ingrédients typiquement fribourgeois avec une tuile de Vacherin au sésame et j’ai employé du chasselas du Vully pour faire mon risotto. Le canton de Fribourg est peu connu pour son terroir viticole, mais le Vully fribourgeois a fait d’immenses progrès ces dernières années et produit actuellement des vins de terroir de très bonne qualité !
Recipe for four people
Botzi Pears:
8 pears
7dl of water
100g of rock sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 cuillère à soupe (roughly a tablespoon) of Sichuan style ground pepper
Wash the pears. Keep the stems on but cut out the little tail at the base of the fruit with the help of a knife.
In a pot, heat up the water, sugar and spices (We would normally use more sugar but since this is a salty recipe, it’s best not to use too much). Once the water has reached a boil, lower the heat add the pears and allow them to cook over a low flame for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the pears. They should remain slight firm even after cooking (test this by poking with a knife), otherwise they will come apart in the risotto. Remove the pears from the casserole dish and set aside to cool.
Cut into four pieces, remove the skins, core and stem and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
In case you are not able to find Botzi pears, you can substitute with another firm type of pear (for example Louise Bonne pears).  Return to a pan and cook with a little bit of butter. Keep the pieces slightly crunchy. Set aside and save for later.
Vacherin and sesame wafers:
4 thin slices of vacherin cheese
Several pinches of sesame seeds
Place the slices on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Pre-heat the oven to 220° C. Let the slices melt for three to four minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them because they burn quickly. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a while before pealing them off the paper with the help of a spatula. Place them on an absorbent paper to remove the excess grease. Store in the refrigerator.
50g of butter
1 chopped onion
250g of risotto rice (preferably Carnaroli)
10cl of white Chasselas wine
1 liter of warm vegetable stock
100g of bleu de Grangeneuve (or equivalent)
Remove skin and chop onion. In another pot, melt the butter and add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add the rice and cook with the butter and onion for a least a minute so that it begins to take on a pearly sheen, stirring it constantly. The grains should be uniformly coated in butter and will become translucent.
Deglaze the rice by pouring the wine into the pot. We measure the cooking time starting at this point. Count around 18-20 minutes depending on the variety of rice chosen. When the wine has evaporated, add the vegetable stock one cup at a time until the liquid has been completely absorbed – this step should be repeated at least six to seven times or until all stock has been used.
Three minutes before the risotto is finished, add the bleu de Grangeneuve and stir well. If your risotto is too compact, add a bit more stock to loosen it up. Add the pieces of Botzi pear and mix well. It’s now ready to serve!
Serve the risotto in a preheated bowl and top with ground pepper and the Vacherin wafers!
This dish pairs well with Vully wine (Chasselas style) or Chardonnay!
Bon appétit! Enjoy!
Recette pour 4 personnes
Poire à botzi
8 poires à botzi
7dl d’eau
100g de sucre candy
1 bâton de cannelle
1 càs de poivre en grain concassé (style Sichuan)
Laver les poires, mais garder les queues. Retirer la mouche à l’aide de la pointe d’un couteau. 
Dans une casserole, chauffer l’eau, le sucre et les épices (normalement, on met plus de sucre, mais pour une recette salée, mieux vaut en mettre un peu moins). Une fois arriver à ébullition, baisser le feu, ajouter les poires et laisser cuire sur feu doux pendant environ 30-40min (selon la taille des poires). Elles doivent rester quand même un peu ferme après cuisson (piquer une pointe de couteau dedans), sinon elles vont se défaire dans le risotto. Retirer du jus de cuisson et laisser refroidir. Découper en 4, retirer le petit trognon, la queue et couper en petits morceaux. Réserver.
Si vous ne trouvez pas ces poires, utiliser des poires à chaire ferme (style Louise Bonne). Les éplucher, couper en petits morceaux et faire revenir dans une poêle avec une nuit de beurre. Garder les morceaux un peu croquants quand même. Réserver pour la suite
Tuiles de Vacherin au sésame
4 fines tranches de Vacherin
Un peu de graines de sésame
Mettre les tranches sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Saupoudrer avec un peu de sésame. Préchauffer le four sur  fonction grill sur 220°C. Laisser fondre pendant 3-4 min (selon le four) tout en contrôlant la cuisson (cela peut brûler rapidement). Une fois cuite, sortir du four, laisser refroidir un peu puis à l’aide d’une spatule, décoller les tuiles, les mettre sur du papier absorbant (enlever l’excès de gras)  et réserver au frigo. 
50 g de beurre
1 oignon émincé
250 g de riz pour risotto (de préférence Carnaroli)
10 cl de vin blanc type chasselas
1 litre environ de bouillon de légumes chaud
100g de bleu de Grangeneuve (ou équivalent) 
Éplucher et émincer l’oignon.
Dans une autre casserole à fond épais, faire chauffer le beurre. Y faire revenir l’oignon à feu doux, sans coloration. Ajouter le riz et le faire « nacrer » à feu moyen pendant au moins une minute, en remuant constamment. Les grains doivent être uniformément enrobés de beurre et devenir translucides.
Déglacer avec le vin blanc. Le temps de cuisson commence à partir de ce moment-là. Compter environ 18-20 minutes selon la variété de riz utilisée. Quand le vin est évaporé, ajouter le bouillon louche par louche jusqu’à ce que le liquide soit parfaitement absorbé, en 6-7 fois au moins, pendant tout le temps de cuisson.
3 min avant la fin de la cuisson, ajouter le bleu de Grangeneuve en remuant bien. Si le risotto est trop compact, ajouter un peu de bouillon pour le détendre. Ajouter les morceaux de poire à botzi, bien mélanger. Il est prêt à être servi. 
Dressage :
Verser le risotto dans une assiette creuse préchauffée, finir avec un tour de moulin à poivre et les tuiles de Vacherin !
Se déguste très bien avec un vin du Vully, style Chasselas ou Chardonnay ! 
Bon appétit ! Enjoy ! 

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