From the Chef's Kitchen: Asparagus & English-Pea Risotto with Pancetta & Mint Pesto

Exclusive recipes, shared only with Pittsburgh Magazine, from some of Pittsburgh's Best Restaurants and chefs. This creative rice dish comes from the kitchen of Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville.



Asparagus & English-Pea Risotto with Pancetta & Mint Pesto


photo by laura petrilla

 

Mint Pesto
2 cups fresh mint, packed tightly
2 cups fresh basil, packed tightly
2 cloves garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Place all of the ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Pulse contents until smooth; add more oil if desired to aid in the pureéing. Place aside when finished; this will be used to top your risotto.

Risotto
2 pounds Arborio rice
1 pound pancetta, cubed small
1 bunch asparagus,
cut to size of peas
2 cups shelled English peas
1 yellow onion, diced
3 quarts (12 cups)
chicken broth, warm
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
(2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sage, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups grated Romano cheese, plus garnish
1 tablespoon
extra-virgin olive oil 
Salt 

Directions
Blanch peas in salted water for 5 minutes and then strain and place in an ice bath to cool off quickly. Once cool, strain and place aside to be used later.
In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepot or Dutch oven, heat a thin film of oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta pieces and cook until crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Once crisp, remove pieces from pan and place in a bowl to be used later.

Add diced onions and rosemary to the still-hot pan of rendered fat. Cook until very soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the rice to the onions and stir together, making sure all rice is toasted and coated with the oil in the pan.

Before the rice begins to stick, add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Stir well and allow the alcohol to cook out. Once absorbed, add some of the heated broth, just enough to cover the rice. Lower heat to medium and continue stirring so the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When liquid is absorbed, add more broth, sage, rosemary and asparagus. These will cook along with the rice.

Continue stirring and adding broth, a ladleful at a time. Add the English peas, pancetta and Romano cheese to finish.  

(Reminder: The total cooking time for rice is 35-45 minutes — until rice is soft but slightly al dente. Risotto should be more creamy and moist, rather than sticky and dry. It is all right if you do not use all of the broth.) 

Divide risotto among the desired 6-8 individual portions. Place a spoonful of the mint pesto in the center on top, and grate some fresh Romano over it all.

Serves about 8.

Piccolo Forno
3801 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/622-0111, piccolo-forno.com. Read more in Best Restaurants 2016.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Meet Rescued Animals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The new Live Animal Encounters program introduces museum visitors to rescued wildlife.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

Feast Series Returns to Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland This September

The third iteration of the series will feature chef J.J. Johnson, formerly of The Cecil and Minton's Supper Club in Harlem.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

The tacos-and-tequila bar and restaurant on the South Side doesn't do anything wrong, exactly, but has room to grow.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

As the team prepares the inaugural class of its Hall of Honor, Mike Prisuta selects the four members of the Steelers family most deserving of inclusion.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

No. 14 Boutique in Lawrenceville put together this chic outfit for the tricky period when summer cools into autumn.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

A Hitman and His Bodyguard Get Into Trouble (No Need to Overcomplicate Things)

Reviews of "The Hitman's Bodyguard" and "Wind River," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Close to a half dozen local businesses, among them Savannah Hayes and Stak Ceramics, will make their debut next week at the mega interior design and home goods-focused show in New York City.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module