Pancetta and Corn Risotto

Risotto is one of the easiest things to make – all you need is a few ingredients and a bit of patience – but it can also be one of the most delectable.  When prepared properly it’s delicate, creamy texture can be both luxurious and comforting. It’s also a versatile dish that can be made year-round using seasonal ingredients.  One of my favorite summer risotto uses pancetta (or bacon in a pinch) and fresh sweet corn. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 6 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 4 oz pancetta (or bacon)
  • 1 large shallot
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1.5 cups of corn (cut from 2 ears)
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese 
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Chives for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in the pot.
  2. Fry the pancetta in a large pan over medium heat until brown. The pancetta itself should render enough fat to fry, but if the pan is too dry add a little olive oil. 
  3. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and reserve, but leave the fat in the pan.
  4. Add the shallots to the fat, and saute until they just begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and stir.  Cook for a minute or so until it has absorbed the oil and starts to look a little translucent.
  6. Add the wine, stir.
  7. When the wine is mostly gone, start adding the stock one half cup at a time. Wait until the stock is mostly absorbed before adding another half cup of the stock.  
  8. When the stock is about halfway gone, add the corn.
  9. Continue adding stock in ½ cup increments. When you run low on stock, taste the risotto and see if its tender. If it’s not tender, keep adding stock.
  10. When the rice is tender, stir in the Parmesan, butter, and half of the pancetta.  Turn off the heat. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the lid and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve immediately.  Sprinkle the remaining pancetta and the chives over the risotto.

Important notes:

  • Make sure the stock is simmering when you add it. Do not add cold stock.
  • Make sure you only add stock ½ cup at a time, and wait until it’s mostly absorbed between additions. This is how you get the creamy texture.
  • Stir often or your rice will stick.
  • If you run out of stock, you can use water – just make sure to warm it up before adding.

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