Waldorf Salad Risotto is an elegant dish combining flavours of the classic salad with a cosy and warm body of creamy risotto rice. A sprinkle of marjoram and the addition of a nice, soft and salty cheese like gorgonzola, or creamy and slightly acidic goat cheese takes the idea of the Waldorf Salad to a whole new level.
I found the Waldorf Salad Risotto in one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, (it is called Apple and Walnut Risotto with Gorgonzola there, but I think that Waldorf salad risotto brings it down to the root of the flavour), and fell in love with it instantly.
Apples and marjoram are just amazing together. You could easily swap these two for pears and thyme (following the recipe proportions) as a flavor variation if you like.
To keep it closer to the Waldorf salad idea you can leave both cheeses out, but they do make a great difference when it comes to ensuring the oozing, creamy texture you’d expect from a risotto. I also didn’t have any walnuts in my pantry at the time, so I toasted some pine nuts and almonds instead and they did work ok.
Comforting Waldorf Salad Risotto
Yes, there is definitely something very comforting in the taste of the Waldorf Salad Risotto. Nothing, except for the familiarity of the old fashioned apple, celery and nut combination, which was first put together in the kitchen of the Waldorf Hotel in New York City, in the last years of the 19th century, comes to my mind.
In general fixing things that are not broken and that stood the test of time is not something I like seeing. But there are some really talented individuals like Jamie, who can take a classic and with a few fine tuned additions make it better. This comforting, Waldorf Salad Risotto recipe is one of them.
- ⅓ cup (1 handful) walnuts or pine nuts
- 300g (1.5 cup) risotto rice - Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
- 1 medium onion - finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 celery sticks - very finely chopped
- 1.2 l vegetable stock (you might not need it all)
- 150 ml dry white wine
- 1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
- 120g gorgonzola cheese, diced
- 40g soft goat's cheese, crumbled
- 2 crunchy eating apples, cored, halved, and finely chopped, tossed in lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, leaves picked and chopped
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place whole nuts in a dry, oven proof tray and toast them for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for later.
- In a pan (cast iron is useful in this recipe), on a medium heat fry onion and celery in 4 tbsp butter and oil until softened (about 15 min). Add rice, coat well in oils and juices and let it toast in the pan for a few minutes before adding the wine. Let the wine evaporate almost completely - you’re after the perfume rather than the acidity at this stage.
- Lower the heat and start adding the stock ladle by ladle allowing rice to absorb it slowly. Stir your risotto often to prevent the rice from catching on the bottom of the pan and to help the starch to release.
- Toward the end of this process try the rice to make sure you stop adding the stock in time and don’t overcook it (I love it when it is creamy, but still slightly al dente). You are looking for creamy, but not too runny texture.
- When the rice is cooked, turn the heat off, stir in all 3 cheeses, remaining butter, apples and marjoram. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle the nuts and Parmesan over and serve immediately.
If you liked the Waldorf Salad Risotto have a look at my Gourmet Mushroom Risotto and the Asparagus and Lemon Risotto recipes. Both Amazing and super popular on Pinterest!