Risotto with Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms

by Monica Bennion on February 20, 2014

A savory Italian-inspired dish that pairs nicely with our tart and equally savory J&S Reserve Barbera.

8 paper-thin slices of pancetta or bacon
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. mixed mushrooms, such as chanterelles, cremini and Portobellos, thickly sliced
Sea salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. finely chopped parsley or tarragon
5 cups light chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 garlic clove, lightly smashed
1 shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2 ounces), plus shavings, for garnish
2 tbsp. heavy cream
Freshly ground white pepper

1)  Preheat the broiler. Arrange the pancetta slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden and sizzling.  Drain on paper towels, then crumble.

2)  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.

3)  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.

4)  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, porridge-like consistency, about 20 minutes.

5)  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.

Courtesy of Food & Wine, contributed by Frédéric Anton

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