Lionheart Wines
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Cranberry Bean, Pancetta, Rosemary and Truffle Risotto

Makes 6 to 8 servings


Part 1:

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons minced onions (minced smaller than the grains of rice)
2 minced shallots (minced smaller than the grains of rice)
½ head of celery, finely chopped (discard any tough outer ribs)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 cup crisp dry white, wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 cups Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, Mushroom Stock or water, heated to a simmer

Part 2:

2 oz. pancetta or smoked bacon, sliced thinly crosswise
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cooked cranberry bean
2 to 2 ½ cups Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, Mushroom Stock, or water, heated to a simmer (for risotto with white truffles, use 1 ¼ cups chicken stock and 1 ¼ cup water)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
5 tablespoons (2 ½ oz) unsalted butter
¾ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons white truffle oil


Base the liquid used in preparing the risotto on the finished dish.  For example, use chicken stock when you are serving meat, or vegetable stock for an asparagus garnish.  Risotto normally requires a cook’s undivided attention over a long period of time.  This two-part method allows you to begin the rice preparation the day before and makes the final cooking time less than ten minutes.  The dish should be served as soon as it is completed.

Part I:

  • Heat the oil in a deep heavy sauté pan over medium heat.  Stir in the celery, shallots and onions; Cook slowly until softened and translucent but not browned (about 3 minutes).  Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. When the vegetables have softened, mix in the rice and stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Fry the bacon until golden and slightly crisp or broil on a baking sheet, then let stand on paper towels to drain excess oil.  At the same time as cooking the bacon, set a pot of water to boil.  When the water is boiling, add the cranberry beans to the water.  The cranberry beans will take about 6 minutes to cook – the beans will start to pop open.  Strain the cranberry beans into an ice water bath and set aside for part II.
  • Add the wine, rosemary and bacon; let it simmer, without stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.  (After adding the wine, lean close to the pan and breathe in the aroma.  You will be able to smell and feel the raw alcohol at the back of your nose.  Breathe it in several times during the cooking process, and as the alcohol evaporates and the rice beings to toast, the raw alcohol smell will dissipate and be replaced wit the smell of toasted rice.) 
  • When the liquid has been absorbed, being stirring to “toast” the rice.  The rice should not brown, but it will separate into individual grains, looking much as it did before the wine was added.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the rice from sticking.  The alcohol smell should be completely gone.
  • Increase the heat and add the stock; it should just cover the rice.  When it boils, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.  Drain the rice, discarding any remaining liquid, Spread the rice in a 9” X 13” pan or other similar size container, cover, and refrigerate for several hours, or up to a day.

Part II:

  • Put the rice in a sauté pan, add ½ cup of the stock and the salt, and stir over high heat until the liquid begins to simmer; it should continue to simmer throughout the cooking.  As the stock evaporates, add ½ cup more.  Continue to cook, adding more stock as it evaporates and tasting the rice from time to time.  The finished rice will be similar to al dente pasta; it should be thoroughly cooked but with a little “bite” remaining to it, never mushy.  When the rice is cooked, let whatever liquid remains in the pan evaporate (you may not use all the stock called for).  Warm the cranberry beans.  Add the warmed cranberry beans.
  • Remove the risotto from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, beat in the butter a little at a time, working quickly so it will “emulsify” with the rice (creating a creamy risotto) rather than melt into the risotto.  Vigorously beat in the whipped cream, cheese, salt to taste, and the white truffle oil, if using.  Divide among serving bowls.  Serve immediately.

The French Laundry Cookbook, pg 88
The Naked Chef, pg 172

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