I first started experimenting with risotto about a year ago when I happened upon this famous risotto recipe from New York Times Food. Cooking rice is still a contributor to about 95% of cases of anxiety in America, but the nice thing about risotto is that it doesn't taste bad if it's overcooked. 

Risotto, for a first-timer, requires many attempts, gallons upon gallons of broth, and a little elbow grease in the event that you burn the risotto (you probably will). Once you get the hang of it, you won't even need a recipe (not even mine). For me, risotto is usually a comfort I can make in one pot for the nights that macaroni and cheese is just too much work (but if you're interested, I've got a couple macaroni recipes for ya). This recipe has got sweet, caramelized sprouts, salty and crispy pancetta, and risotto so creamy you'll forget it's just rice.

Before you attempt this recipe you should note 3 things:

  1. Risotto should be constantly stirred, reduced, and then re-liquified.
  2. Ugly food is the best food.
  3. Authenticity is unattainable and kinda BS.

Prep + Cook Time: 45 minutes. Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup pancetta cubes   
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese and more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • fine salt 
  • sweet red cooking wine

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a frying pan or skillet, fry the pancetta on medium-high until its crispy and sizzly (about 5 minutes). Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

  2. In the same pan, heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Incorporate the sprouts into the pan, and douse them with red wine.  Turn the skillet down to low and keep your eye on the sprouts. Add wine as necessary until the sprouts are cooked down, stir in garlic, then take off the heat. 

  3. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, bring 2 cups of arborio and a splash of olive oil to a boil in 4 cups of chicken broth.
  4. Once the risotto is boiling, begin to stir. This part can be frustrating but stick it out and the end-result will be amazing. Add more salt and broth as the liquid cooks down, stirring, and adding more as needed, for up to 10 minutes until the rice is fork tender. 
  5. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the half and half, white pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Combine everything until melted and take off the heat. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t stick.
  6. Add most of the Brussels sprouts to the risotto (leave some for garnish).
  7. Serve in bowls, garnish with Brussels sprouts, pancetta, and freshly grated or shaved cheese. 
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Pancetta

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