Red Wine Risotto

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups carnaroli rice
  • 10 ounces red wine
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shaved, to taste

Bring stock to a bare simmer in a 3-quart pot. Heat a straight-sided, heavy pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter and stir together until the butter has melted. Add pancetta and cook for three minutes, or until golden. Add onion and cook for 1 minute, or until translucent. Add rice and stir thoroughly to coat it evenly with oil. Continue to stir until rice begins to sizzle.

Bare the center of the pan with a wooden spoon and add half of the wine over the bare pan bottom. Stir until the pan is nearly dry, then repeat with the remaining wine.

Add 1 cup of stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan. Continue to stir until nearly all of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat previous steps until the rice is al dente, approximately 20 minutes. You will have at least 1 cup of stock remaining.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the remaining butter, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add enough stock to achieve a flowing consistency (Northern Italians call this "al ondo" or "to the wave"). Serve immediately, garnished with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

Suggested Wine Pairings: Chianti Classico, Dolcetto, Croze Hermitage, Argentine Malbec, Zinfandel, Chinon, Syrah