Pancetta Risotto with Truffle Oil

There are two things always welcome in my home, risotto and pancetta.  Ok, there are a whole lot more than that, but for the purposes of this post, let’s just go with it.  Now that we are fully ensconced in the comfort food time of year, I just naturally gravitate towards risotto.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be making spring risotto, too!  But the pancetta and the rosemary in this one screams comfort.  With the first bite you feel as if you are being lovingly  wrapped in a cozy blanket.  Nothing beats that feeling on a cold night after a long day!


5 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 Tbs olive oil
3 oz chopped pancetta (you can often find it already chopped and packaged in the deli section of national grocery stores)
½ cup minced shallots
1½ cups Arborio rice
1½ tsp chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine (might as well pour a glass for yourself, too!)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white truffle oil
½ tsp kosher salt


Bring stock to simmer in small saucepan.  Keep warm over low heat

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add olive oil, swirl to coat.  Add pancetta; sauté 6 minutes, or until crisp.  Remove pancetta from pan and drain on a paper towel.  Add shallots to pan drippings and cook 2 minutes (being careful not to brown), stirring frequently.  Stir in rice, rosemary, and garlic.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add wine and cook for 2 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.  Stir in 1½ cups of stock; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Add remaining stock, ¾ cup at a time (reserve 1/3 cup for end), until each portion of stock is absorbed, stirring near constantly (it will take about 20 minutes).  Stir in pepper, truffle oil, and salt.  Remove from heat and stir in reserved 1/3 cup broth.  Top with pancetta.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio

Serves 5
Total time: 40 minutes

Pancetta Risotto with Truffle Oil

Pancetta Risotto with Truffle Oil

*From Cooking Light

Pancetta Lemon-Garlic Chicken Thighs with ‘Rice Pilaf’

Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo are totally different, but each have their place and bring their own flavor (and I’m sorry Friends, soyrizo does not count. It, too, has its place, but not here). I know you are asking why I am talking about chorizo. It’s because this recipe originally called for Spanish chorizo. I wasn’t worried, I had bought it before. I could even picture exactly where I had seen it in the store (deli section, by the way). So of course, feeling all chorizo full of myself, I waited until the last minute. I know that you know what comes next. No Chorizo!! Imagine the sound from The Shining and the knife going through the shower curtain. I can’t even try to duplicate it here. But that is what I heard through my head. What to do, what go do. Oh, look! Pancetta! It will give me the salt I need and the fat. I’ll be missing the spice, but I can work around that. This is the result.  PS – I got to use my rice cooker again!  Swoon!


4 Tbs butter
1/4 cup cut spaghetti (such as Barilla)
1 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
4 oz chopped pancetta (I buy the little prechopped package in the deli section)
8 Chicken thighs (I used boneless skinless, it what I had on hand)
4 small onions, quartered
2 small lemons sliced about 1/2″ thick
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


For Rice:  In rice cooker melt 3 Tbs butter.  Add spaghetti and toast for 3 minutes.  Stir in rice to coat.  Add 2 cups chicken stock, stir to combine.  Cover and let it do its t hing.

For chicken: In a large deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add pancetta and cook, turning, until browned.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel lined plate.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat turning once, until browned (about 15 minutes).  Transfer to a plate.  Add remaining 1 Tbs olive oil to skillet.  Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently, for 2 minutes.  Add the lemons, garlic, and paprika.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 2  minutes.  Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from the pan.  Stir in remaining 1 cup chicken stock.  Return chick and pancetta to skillet, cover and lower heat and simmer for about 5  minutes.

Transfer solid ingredients to platter.  Reduce sauce for a minute over high heat, then stir in the remaining 1 Tbs butter and parsley.  Serve chicken over rice pilaf, pour sauce over both.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Blanc de Blancs
Chenin Blanc
Pinot Gris/ Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 6 large portions
Total time: 45 minutes




*Derived from 30 Minute Meals

Maple Salmon

We know I like salmon, that is an undisputed fact. But did we know I like maple, because apparently I do. It seems like I make a lot of salmon and maple recipes. I can’t help it, I love the savory with the sweet. If done right, the salmon almost looks pickled by the syrup, in that you can see that the fish has completely accepted the syrup, invited it into its flesh. THIS is when I know I’ve got a great dish emerging before my eyes. This one, I’ll be honest, I questioned. I made it completely off the cuff. I overslept by, oh, I don’t know, maybe an hour this morning ( 1 FULL HOUR! Hello office, I think I’m going to be late . . .). So, in the mad dash to get the four of us out the door I grabbed what I thought I could work with when I got home from work. Of course I had salmon. 🙂 I didn’t even have to stand, tapping my foot, in front of the pantry wondering, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do?” I spied the brown sugar. I spied the maple syrup. A dish was coming together.


3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets


Combine sea salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup.  Spread evenly over salmon fillets.  Let stand 30 minutes.  About 5 – 10 minutes before salmon is done, preheat broiler to high.

Spray broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Add salmon, skin side down.  Broil 12-15 minutes, check for doneness after about 10.  Serve with salad, rice or mashed potatoes, and some warm, buttery bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Pinot Gris

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes; Total time: 25 minutes


*Original Serves 4 Recipe