Thursday, October 7, 2010

Risotto with Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms

Risotto is one of my absolute favorite dishes to make. It is actually quite simple to make so I'm unsure why people are so scared of it. The one thing that I can think of is that you need to stand near the stove the entire 20+ minutes that the risotto is cooking - it requires constant stirring. Thankfully I have an awesome boyfriend who stood by the stove with me while the risotto was cooking. I'd like to say that he loves to be helpful in the kitchen but the fact is he was just starving - I love him regardless!

I used one of my MANY cookbooks to find this recipe. It came from the book "Food & Wine 2000: An Entire Year's Recipes from America's Favorite Food Magazine." It is an amazing cookbook with over 500 recipes and tons of photos. Another few reasons I love this cookbook are because it has sample menus (using recipes from the book), wine recommendations and tips from the editors of their magazine. I've included the recipe below, adapted from Food and Wine, with a few minor tweaks of my own. No surprise there! 

 8 paper-thin slices of pancetta or bacon (about 2 ounces) I used diced pancetta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as chanterelles, cremini and Portobellos, thickly sliced
Sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley or tarragon I used both, split evenly
1/2 cup white wine (I clearly added this ingredient on my own)
5 cups light chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 garlic clove, lightly smashed I minced up my garlic because I love the flavor
1 shallot, minced Didn't have one so I used half of a regular onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings, for garnish
2 tablespoons heavy cream Omitted this, didn't miss it!
Freshly ground white pepper

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the pancetta slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and broil for 1-2 mins or until golden and sizzling. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. I sauteed the pancetta in a small frying pan because I didn't want to use the stove!

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring, just until they exude their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms and their liquid to a strainer set over a bowl and press lightly on the mushrooms; reserve the liquid. Wipe out the skillet and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring, until tender and just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, cover and keep warm.

In a medium saucepan, combine the stock with the reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer, then keep warm over low heat. In a large, deep nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant. Add the shallot and cook until softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes; discard the garlic. Add the rice and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated with butter.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook the risotto, adding the stock 1 cup at a time, and stirring constantly between additions until it is absorbed. Cook the risotto until it has a creamy, porridgelike consistency, about 20 minutes.

Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, the cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and white pepper and transfer to warm soup plates. Garnish with the mushrooms, pancetta and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.

Risotto is a classic Italian specialty and I'm proud to say it is one of my specialties as well! This dish in particular screams "Italian" to me, probably because of the specific ingredients - wine, pancetta, arborio rice and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Come on! "The salty crunch of the pancetta serves as a palate-pleasing counterpoint to the tenderness of the mushrooms, with the al dente rice making a midpoint between the two," says the cookbook writers. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

Tutti Mangia!


Alyssa said...

This looks so yummy!! I love anything with mushrooms :)

Ashley Nicole said...

OMG Risotto is my fav!!!!!

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