The full and delicious taste of this risotto will undoubtedly warm your heart and soul. In this recipe the smoked pancetta is combined with another smoked item, Provola affumicata cheese from Southern Italy’s Campania region. Smoking is actually a process to preserve, flavor and cook food by exposing it to smoke from wood or other burning or smouldering materials. Different types of meat, like pancetta, and fish are the most common smoked foods, although cheese and vegetables can be smoked, too. Smokehouse temperatures for cold smoking are typically between 20-30 C/68-86 F. Cold smoking can be simply used as a flavor enhancer because the food is smoked just long enough to give it some flavor, and the foods are still cooked, either by baking, grilling, roasting, or sautéing, before eating.
1 onion, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
100 gr/ 3.5 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes
2.5 dl/ 1 cup risotto rice
1 liter/ 4 cups vegetable stock
80 gr/ 3 oz smoked Provola affumicata cheese, thinly sliced
250 gr/ 9 oz champignon mushrooms, sliced
salt and peper to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the smoked pancetta, onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes golden. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock into the pan. Keep stirring. After about 15 minutes the risotto rice is cooked al dente. Add the sliced smoked cheese and mix well.
Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms lightly in a pan until they release their juices. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the risotto rice without cooking it any further with the mushrooms. Serve each plate immediately with a pinch of ground black pepper.