Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Radicchio and Smoked Pancetta Risotto

Full-bodied taste in this Risotto given by the slight bitterness of Radicchio and the savouriness of the smoked pancetta, which is even tastier when fried. We brown it separately and add it to the risotto at the end. The two flavours combine perfectly without one overpowering the other.


Serves 4, Preparation 20 mins, Cooking 25 mins

  • 300 g Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 1 head Radicchio / Red Chicory
  • 100 g diced smoked Pancetta
  • a tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 onion or 1 shallot
  • Vegetable stock cube or homemade vegetable broth
  • Dry white wine, half a glass
  • 500 ml hot water
  • a knob of butter

Method

Chop the onion finely.

Wash, dry and cut radicchio into thin strips.

Heat half a litre of water and dissolve the vegetable stock cube in it, or prepare the classic vegetable stock with onion, carrot and celery or any other vegetables you have available. The broth must be boiling because it will be used to cook the rice.

Heat a tablespoon of Evoo in a saucepan, then fry the smoked pancetta until crispy, set aside.

Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan, add the chopped onion and fry it for a few minutes. If it tends to stick to the bottom, add a tablespoon of hot stock.

Add the radicchio and let it wilt for a few minutes, then add the rice and toast it until it becomes translucent.

Deglaze the rice and radicchio with half a glass of dry white wine over a high flame, allowing the alcohol to evaporate, then add one or two ladles of boiling broth, covering the rice and stirring over a low flame.

Tip: add more hot broth a ladle at time as the rice dries out, not all at once.

Add the roasted bacon with its oil, leaving a few cubes for garnish at the end. Cook over a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring continuously, adding a ladleful of hot broth from time to time.

When the risotto is ready, remove it from the heat, add a handful of grated Parmigiano, another knob of butter (cold if possible) and stir to cream it.

Add salt if necessary, serve with the rest of the toasted pancetta and a sprinkling of ground black pepper.

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