Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Risotto dei Maiali che Cercano i Tartufi

After having made Seafood Risotto and Risotto dello Zafferano con il Calamaro ed i Pettini, I decided to make a risotto with meat.  A lot of meat. This recipe includes two types of pork: pancetta and rubbed black forest bacon.  However, the meat is balanced by the use of mushrooms and sage.  

Finally, I decided to use truffles.  Well, not actual truffles, because those sell for about $100 a pound.  Instead, I used a little truffle oil, which provides the hint of that earthy ingredient.  

For me, this recipe represents the first time that I let my creativity go wild.  As I made this recipe, I pictured pigs hunting through the forest for mushrooms and the elusive truffle.  You can taste the truffle, but you cannot find it.  This picture led to the name -- "Risotto dei Maiali che Cerchano i Tarfufi" -- roughly translates as the Risotto of Pigs Hunting Truffles.

Serves 2-3
A Chef Bolek Original

1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1/3 pound of black forest bacon, diced
1 package of dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated, with mushroom liqueur reserved)
1 cup of arborio rice
3 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of white wine (I used Orvieto, a very good Umbrian wine)
1 package of sage
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 clove shallots, diced
1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, diced
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Truffle oil

1.  Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes.  Remove the mushrooms and set aside.  Strain the liquid and reserve it for use later.

2.  Combine the chicken stock and reserved mushroom liquor in a pot on high.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Then add the crushed red pepper and a few sage leaves.  Stir and heat until it is very warm but do not let it boil.  

3.  Heat a medium sized pot on medium.  Add pancetta and saute for about four to five minutes. You want to cook the pancetta for a while to draw out the fat, which will help to cook the rest of the risotto.  Stir occasionally to avoid burning the pancetta. After the fat is drawn out, which takes about 5 minutes, add the onion, shallots and garlic.  Saute these ingredients for about 4-5 minutes, allowing them to sweat and to mix the flavors with the pancetta.  Stir occasionally to avoid anything from burning.

4.  Now, add the arborio rice.  Stir the rice to make sure that it is coated with the pancetta, onion, shallot, and garlic.  All of the rice should be covered.  You should mix it only for only about a minute or so.  Then, add 1 cup of white wine.  Allow the wine to be absorbed by the rice, stirring occasionally to ensure that it does not burn on the bottom of the pot.

5.  Once the wine is almost absorbed (but not entirely), add about a cup of the chicken stock/mushroom liquor to the rice and continue to stir occasionally.  Once this liquid is absorbed by the rice, add another cup.  Continue to add the stock/liqueur until the arborio rice is al dente (tender but not too crisp). 

6.  When the arborio rice is becoming tender, heat a separate pan on high.  Add the bacon and begin to saute the bacon.  After 3-4 minutes, add the mushrooms and sage.  Continue to cook the bacon, mushrooms and sage for another 3-4 minutes. 

7.  When the arborio rice is al dente and the bacon is cooked through, combine the bacon/mushroom/sage mixture with the arborio rice and stir it very well.  Drizzle olive oil infused with truffles over the risotto and mix it again very well.  Plate it by spooning a large amount into a bowl.


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