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

Risotto with Beans and Vegetables

Oops I did it again! I played with your heart . . . Oh wait,wrong sentiment. Well, a little. I did do it again, I made a wonderful risotto in the rice cooker!  It’s almost daily now that I am looking at the rice cooker and thinking, “Hmmm. . . ”  I wonder if I stuff some laundry in there it will magically be cleaned and folded.  Oh, oh, oh!  I’ve got it!  Can I shove my computer in their and all of my scopes of work and subcontractor matrices come out DONE!!  Bim Bam!  Because that’s how I am viewing my wonderful little rice cooker now, it’s this magical little pot.  I’m not sure how it does what it does.  I don’t even care.  Just as long as it keeps bubbling away and turning out amazing food.  (The laundry would help, too, though.)


3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I bought presliced cremini)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup finally chopped zucchini
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 15 oz can low sodium cannellini, pinto, or black beans; rinsed and drained
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (plus about a handful more for topping when ready to serve)

Rice Cooker Preparation:

Turn rice cooker on, once it’s heated add 2 Tbs olive oil, mushrooms, onion, and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add uncooked rice.  Cook and stir about 5 more minutes or until rice is golden brown.  Add 3 cups of broth, zucchini and carrots, stir to combine all ingredients.  Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 20 minutes, rice should be slightly creamy and just tender.  Stir in beans and Parmesan cheese; cover and heat through.  Sprinkle with additional cheese for serving.

Non-Rice Cooker Preparation:

In medium sauce pan bring broth to boil.  Reduce heat; simmer until needed.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook mushrooms, onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add uncooked rice.  Cook and stir for about 5 minutes or until rice is golden brown.

Slowly add 1 cup of broth to rice mixture, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Add another 1/2 cup of broth, zucchini, and carrots to rice mixture, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Add another 1 cup broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until broth is absorbed. (THis should take about 20 minutes).

Stir remaining 1/2 cup broth into rice mixture.  Cook and stir until rice is slightly creamy and just tender.  Stir in beans and Parmesan cheese; heat through.  Sprinkle with additional cheese for serving.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

White Burgundy,
Pinot Noir,
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 30 minutes

photo (3)

*Derived from BHG

Mushroom Risotto

Here we are on another meatless Monday and just wait until you see what I’ve got for you! I love to make risotto and have several recipes, but this one was truly amazing. What I liked about this recipe: I cheated and made it in the rice cooker, while it was bubbling away I was able to quickly browse the newest Cooking Light. What I would do different: not a thing, well, maybe add some shrimp on a non meatless day. When I was envisioning this meal today, I had no intention of cheating and using the rice cooker. And I didn’t even get home late! But someone stopped by to see The Hubs about a paver project and I spent more time tracking The Hubs down, then standing out in the front yard while they talked on my phone; by that time the kids were racing in the front yard and didn’t want to come in. So, I got started much later than I thought and the rice cooker suddenly looked interesting. I had no idea how wonderfully the flavors would come together and how soft, but not mushy, the rice would be. It’s really exciting when something off-the-cuff turns out this well!  PS – Wow does this reheat well for lunch!


1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter plus 2 tsp for the finish
2 Tbs minced shallot (I used yellow onion b/c it was what I had on hand)
1 cup plus 2 Tbs medium grain risotto (I used Arborio)
1 – 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cups chicken stock (to make vegetarian, sub vegetable broth)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving


Set the rice cooker for the Quick Cook or Regular cycle.  Add olive oil and butter in the rice cooker bowl.  When the better melts, add the shallots or onion.  Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add rice and stir until grains are evenly coated and hot.  Cook, stirring occasionally until grains are mostly transparent, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, stir for a minute or two.  Add the stock; stir to combine.  Close lid and reset for the Porridge or Regular cycle and set a timer for 20 minutes.  When the cooker switches to the Keep Warm cycle or the timer sounds, stir risotto.  The risotto should have only a bit of liquid left and the rice al dente.  If needed, cook for a few minutes longer.

When ready to serve, add the butter.  Close the lid for about a minute to allow butter to melt.  Stir in cheese and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Prep time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: 35 minutes

 Mushroom Risotto 2

*Derived from the Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook

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Asparagus-Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan

I love risotto.  I love everything about risotto.  The comfort food feel you get from it.  The rich taste.  The creamy texture.  My risotto recipes have been “go to”s for me for years.  And I completely forgot I had this one.  The kicker, the rice you use has to be pre-cooked.  Um, what?  Who has time for that?  That’s when the little light bulb went “Pop” over my head.  I don’t own a rice cooker for nothing!  Wow, what a huge difference that made.  And I could have the rice cooker going while I was prepping and cooking the asparagus and mushrooms.  Brilliant!



2 tsp olive oil
2 shallots chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
6 cups sliced mushrooms (any combination cremini, oyster, etc.)
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cups cooked Arborio rice (I doubled this because it was our main dish for dinner, if you’d like it as a side, reduce to 2 cups)
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper to taste


To cook the Arborio in the rice cooker, I added 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of chicken broth (had I read ahead, i would have used beef broth, but I don’t think it had a huge impact on the taste).  The very basic cooker I have has an on / off and warming button (I’m hoping to get an upgrade, *hint hint to my Hubs).  So I just hit the on button and let it do its work while I prepped the rest of the meal.

Heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Cook 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.  Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes, until tender and releasing juice.  Add thyme and cook 1 minute.  Add rice, broth, and asparagus and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in parmesan and chopped parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 15 minutes


*Derived from Robin Miller / Food Network