Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Blackberry Risotto with Crispy Pancetta

Blackberry risotto with crispy pancetta, Risotto alle more con pancetta croccante in Italian, is a pretty unusual yet very tasty primo piatto.

Actually it’s not that unusual to use fruit (not all of it) in risotto, such as risotto with pear and gorgonzola or with orange and goat cheese just to name a few.

Blackberries have a sweet-sourish flavour that releases a charming non-invasive aftertaste. The savouriness of pancetta – pork belly – and the soft light cream cheese we added, balance perfectly the flavour.
Instead of making the usual vegetable broth, we simply used hot water which worked very well.


Serves 2-3, Preparation 10 mins, Cooking 20 mins

  • 240 g Carnaroli rice
  • 1 onion
  • 500 ml hot water
  • 200 g fresh blackberries
  • 50 g soft light cream cheese
  • 50 ml white dry wine
  • 80 g diced unsmoked pancetta
  • 40 g grated Parmigiano cheese
  • EVOO – Extra virgin olive oil, a tbsp
  • Unsalted butter, a knob

Method

Blend the blackberries with an immersion blender until you get a puree, filter through a sieve to remove seeds so as to obtain a smooth and homogeneous cream. Set aside.

Brown diced pancetta until crispy – no oil or butter addition. Set aside.

Heat 500 ml of water and keep it hot.

Tip: do not add pancetta directly to the rice while it is cooking, otherwise it will be boiled and losing its taste and crunchiness.

Slice finely the onion, brown it in a pot with Evoo and a knob of butter.

After a few minutes add the rice to toast it and stir. It should become translucent. As soon as the rice is toasted, turn up the heat and pour in the white wine, let it evaporate completely. Slowly add hot water a little at a time, stir, add a tablespoon of spreadable cheese, stir, then a little more water if it dries out too much and cook the risotto evenly. Almost at the end of the cooking time, add the blackberry puree, mix well while lowering the flame, add a few pieces of pancetta, stir and cook for the last few minutes.

Remove from the heat, add grated Parmigiano and stir, garnish with the rest of the crispy pancetta and serve hot.

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