Monday, March 26

Mushroom & Pancetta Risotto

This creamy, earthy risotto is my ultimate comfort food

I'm a strong believer in food as a source of mental and spiritual healing (that's what comfort food is all about, afterall), but sometimes it's more about the cooking than the eating for me. So after a stressful week of life, work, etc., I spent the night making a mushroom risotto. I usually make a quicker weeknight version (see here and here), but there's something therapeutic about spending an hour at the stove, slowly adding the warm stock to rice and coaxing it until it it forms a creamy, rich sauce. This mushroom version is full of deep flavor, from the crispy pancetta, to the porcini-infused stock, to the loads of Parmesan cheese, and it's honestly one of the best risottos I've ever had.

Related Recipes:
- Lemony Asparagus Risotto
- Mushroom Bourguignon
- Lobster Risotto

Mushroom & Pancetta Risotto:
  • Bring 10 c. chicken stock to a simmer, add in 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms and allow them to sit for 15 minutes, or until soft.
  • Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and chop them, leaving the infused stock over a low flame.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add in 1/3 lb. diced pancetta* and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in 1 tbsp. butter and 1 diced onion and cook for another 5 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add in 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute, then add in 1 lb. thickly sliced cremini mushrooms.
  • Cook mushrooms for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add in 2 c. aborio rice and stir it into the pancetta and mushrooms. Let rice toast for 5 minutes.
  • Add in 2/3 c. white wine and let the alcohol cook off for 3 minutes.
  • Ladle in about 1 c. of stock, salt, and pepper, and stir into the rice. Wait until all the rice has absorbed, about 3 minutes, making sure to stir often so that no rice sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • Continue adding stock and stirring for another hour or until the rice is cooked fully.
  • Stir in 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp. cold butter. Check for seasoning.
  • Divide into bowls and serve.

Serve four - six
*Can substitute for bacon.