Let’s start from saying that my boyfriend appreciates my cooking skills a lot (surprise surprise! haha!). And I’m delighted by the fact he likes to learn how to prepare Italian dishes properly.
I always make a big fuss about how risotto should be prepared. Once he said to me “Oh, come on! It’s just boiled rice with some toppings!”. This was my reaction…JUST BOILED RICE WITH TOPPINGS? No Sir, that’s not risotto! It’s definitely not!
To show him what risotto is really about, I offered him a cooking lesson focussed on preparing one of my favourite versions ever: Lumberjack risotto. It really makes me laugh to call it like this. The original name in Italian is Risotto alla Boscaiola, but considering that boscaiolo in Italian is lumberjack, I guess it’s the only translation that works.
As I already said in one of my posts, risotto works all arounf care. You don’t just chuck everything in a saucepan and leave it until it’s cooked (unless you have an automatic cook processor, but I refuse to have one). You have to constantly stir it over a low heat, adding stock little by little until it develops its maverllous creamy texture.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
- 160g Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 300g small button or porcini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 150g smoked pancetta cubes
- 100ml dry white wine
- 750ml hot vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50g cheese such as fontina or taleggio (but mild cheddar will do the job anyway)
- 50g grated parmesan cheese
- 30g butter
- 2 tbsp fresh chives
Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan and fry the onion until golden.
Tip the pancetta and fry for further 5-6 minutes to make it slightly crispy.
Lower the heat, add the mushrooms and cook, covered with a lid, for 7-8 minutes to make them release their moisture. Mix occasionally.
Tip the rice and toast it for a few minutes until the grains turn shiny.
Pour the wine and stir well. Let the alcohol evaporate, then add the stock scoop by scoop to keep everything moist and prevent sticking. Keep stirring to distribute the heat evenly and allow the rice to cook uniformly.
After 15 minutes (or more, depending on the type of rice you use), taste it and if it’s cooked, add the cheese, the parmesan and the butter and stir well. Cover with the lid and let set (as we say “mantecare” in Italian) for 5 minutes. Stir again, serve and sprinkle with the fresh chives.