Risotto Sundays

So I realize this is the second “Risotto Sundays” post in a row, however GreenBEAN delivered these beautiful mushrooms and my mind immediately went to this great wild mushroom risotto I had last month — in Rothenberg, Germany of all places!  If you find yourself in Rothenberg, make sure you stop by Pizzeria Roma (Galgengasse 19) for an authentic Italian meal.  One can only eat pork for so long while in Germany, and this family owned restaurant has been cranking out traditional Tuscan fare in Rothenberg since the 70s!…. but I digress.

Mushroom and Pancetta Risotto

Mushroom and Pancetta Risotto

2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced pancetta
2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
2 TB butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup Chardonnay
1 quart chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1-2 TB of truffle oil

1. In a large skillet heat up the olive oil and cook the pancetta till it starts to crisp up. Place pancetta on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
2. To the skillet add the chopped mushrooms and cook through for about 10 minutes, stirring them frequently. Remove mushrooms from the skillet and set aside.
3. Add the butter to the hot skillet, let it melt and add the arborio rice. Cook till rice goes from translucent to slightly toasted. Add the wine and reduce the cooking temperature to a low-medium setting.
4. After the wine has cooked through, start adding the broth. Continue to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time. Only add more when the previous addition has been absorbed by the rice while constantly stirring.
5. Right before the last addition of the chicken broth (approx. 35 minutes into the cooking time), fold the pancetta and mushrooms into the risotto. Add the remaining broth and let it cook through.
6. Add the milk, stir and add the Parmigiano Reggiano.
7. Drizzle with the truffle oil and serve immediately.

The temps got up to the mid seventies in Indy today, but Farm Fresh delivered this squash right before my trip to London last week… and one week is exactly what it needed.  I am so glad I didn’ t cut into it before I left. I had been thinking about making this risotto for sometime, ever since I had it at a restaurant in Chicago last year.  I guess it takes me a while sometime to try and recreate recipes from the road.

1 medium sized squash
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 TB kosher salt
1 TB unsalted butter
1 cup of arborio rice
1 cup chardonnay
40 oz chicken broth
2 TB parmigiano reggiano
1 TB white truffle oil

1. Preheat oven to 375. Meanwhile peel and cut the squash into one inch cubes.
2. Place the squash on a small baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. Toss till it’s well covered and roast, uncovered for 45 minutes or till fork tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool off.
3. While the squash cools off, place 4 cups of the chicken broth in a medium sauce pot and bring to a simmer.
4. Puree the squash in the food processor with the remainder cup of water, set aside.
5. In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the arborio rice. Cook the rice in the butter until it starts to toast. Add the chardonnay and reduce the cooking temperature to a low-medium setting. Add the squash mixture and combine well with the rice.
6. Continue to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time. Only add more when the previous addition has been absorbed by the rice while constantly stirring.
7. After approximately 45 minutes the rice would have absorbed all of the liquid and be cooked to “al dente”.
8. Remove from the heat, add the cheese, truffle oil, and serve immediately.

We do a lot of risotto around here from spring to fall; and it mostly happens on Sundays. We simply love it, and Sunday its about the only day when I have time to dedicate time to one dish. Also, our local Farmer’s Market runs on Saturday, and well, nine times out of ten, some of my market purchases ends up in the risotto.

I first tasted Rissotto al Limone a couple of years ago in Florence. It was our first meal after an entire day of train travel from Munich. I found the combination of lemon and prosciutto intriguing, ordered it, and I am glad I did. I have played around a bit with this recipe and now I have an exact replica of Trattoria Za Za’s recipe!

Risotto al Limone

Risotto al Limone

2 TB butter
1 cup prosciutto, diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine such as Chardonnay
40 oz chicken stock
juice of two lemons
1 cup half and half
2 TB grated parmessan

1. In a large skillet, melt the butter and sautee the prosciutto for 5 minutes. Take the prosciutto out of the pan and set aside.
2. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir frequently until golden. Add the wine and stir till the wine is absorbed.
3. Add the chicken stock, one cup at a time and stir frequently. Continue to add the broth as the previously added broth evaporates. In between broth additions, add the lemon juice. This process will take 30 – 40 minutes.
4. Once rice is cooked to “al dente”, add the half and half and stir.
5. Add the parmessan cheese after the half and half is fully absorbed. Garnish with lemon and serve.