Risotto is a laborious dish to make. It takes constant stirring and patience for the rice to slowly cook. This sage and pancetta risotto, however, is well worth the effort!

Pancetta is pork belly that has been cured in salt and other spices. It is commonly referred to as Italian bacon. I bought 4 slices of pancetta from the deli at Whole Foods. It is generally sold rolled, but it can easily be unrolled and cut into cubes. It is important to start the pancetta in a cold pan so that the fat can render slowly.

The sage in this risotto enhances the flavor of the pork and compliments the rice. It adds a warmness to the dish without overpowering the other flavors.

RISOTTO WITH SAGE AND PANCETTA

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, cubed
  • 1 large leek, chopped, white and light green part only
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, bring broth to a simmer and keep over warm heat.
  2. In a large, cold sauté pan, add the pancetta cubes. Cook over medium low heat until the pancetta is crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
  3. Add the leek and garlic to the sauté pan. Turn heat to medium high and cook for about 3 minutes until softened. Add the arborio rice and stir to coat in the fat. Cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook until reduced, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed before adding more (about 25 minutes).
  5. Stir in the chopped sage and the pancetta. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and add in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4 as Main Course or 6 as First Course