Asparagus Risotto with Pancetta and Lemon
When dining out at Italian restaurants, you can usually only order risotto if someone agrees to share it with you. I have often regretted ordering risotto because it is most often served as a portion for two. By bringing the recipe into your own kitchen you can control your servings of Italy's original rice pasta whether you are feeding yourself or your entire family.
The lemon and cheese bring so much flavor to this pasta. The crispy asparagus bites and salty pancetta, make this dish a crave worthy staple.
Make sure to call your store ahead to ask if they have diced Pancetta. Trader Joes and Boar's Head both make a prepacked 4oz. package. I made the rookie mistake of buying slices from the butcher the first time. This thick Italian bacon is tough to cut!
As I began to analyze the ingredient list for the summer risotto classic, I realized we already had more than half the ingredients in our fridge from the night before after cooking our favorite lamb recipe with the grilled asparagus as a side.
See another suggestion below that will let you use up all the leftover ingredients from the Lamb recipe for the risotto (aside from the rice, lemon and Pancetta.)
2 cups Arborio Rice
1/2 lb Fresh Asparagus
1/3 lb Pancetta, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken broth
1 medium shallot (diced)
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp Lemon Zest
In a medium saucepan, saute the Pancetta in a little olive oil until crisp. Transfer to a plate with paper towels and set aside.
On a baking sheet, drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil and a large pinch sea salt over the laid-out asparagus. Roast at 400 for 3-5 minutes - until tender and charred. Remove from oven and chop asparagus, reserving tips. Set aside.
In that same saucepan, over medium-high heat, saute the shallots, remaining oil and butter until translucent. Add Arborio rice and stir. You are toasting the rice for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and reduce for 1 minute. Begin adding the chicken stock one ladle-full at a time - just enough to cover the rice. Stirring constantly, add a ladle of chicken stock when you can see the bottom of the pan as you drag your wooden spoon through the risotto. Cover the rice with the stock and repeat this process for 20-25 minutes. When rice is still al dente, and beginning to stick together, remove from the heat. Add asparagus and pancetta. Add the cheese and stir in. Risotto will continue to cook from remaining heat. Garnish with asparagus tips, crispy pancetta and lemon zest. Serve immediately.
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 lamb chops 3/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
In a small bowl mix together the basil, thyme and rosemary. Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides. Place the lamb on a plate, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Place the lamb chops in the skillet and cook for about 3 and a half minutes for medium rare meat or longer if desired. Remove from heat and keep warm on serving platter.
Add the shallots to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until browned. Stir in the vinegar scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has been reduced by half. If you don't the sauce will not be thick enough. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Pour over lamb chops and enjoy!
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