Risotto with Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms
© Minh & Wass

Risotto with Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms


The risotto by Frédéric Anton has the Joël Robuchon trademarks, full flavors and complexity, yet is faithful to its Italian heritage. Texture is paramount: the salty crunch of the pancetta serves as a palate-pleasing counterpoint to the tenderness of the mushrooms, with the al dente rice making a midpoint between the two.

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  1. 8 paper-thin slices of pancetta or bacon (about 2 ounces)
  2. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as chanterelles, cremini and Portobellos, thickly sliced
  4. Sea salt
  5. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley or tarragon
  7. 5 cups light chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  8. 1 garlic clove, lightly smashed
  9. 1 shallot, minced
  10. 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  11. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2 ounces), plus shavings, for garnish
  12. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  13. Freshly ground white pepper
  1. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the pancetta slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden and sizzling. Drain on paper towels, then crumble.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring, just until they exude their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms and their liquid to a strainer set over a bowl and press lightly on the mushrooms; reserve the liquid. Wipe out the skillet and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring, until tender and just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, cover and keep warm.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the stock with the reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a simmer, then keep warm over low heat. In a large, deep nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant. Add the shallot and cook until softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes; discard the garlic. Add the rice and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated with butter.
  4. Add 1 cup of the hot stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook the risotto, adding the stock 1 cup at a time, and stirring constantly between additions until it is absorbed. Cook the risotto until it has a creamy, porridgelike consistency, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, the cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and white pepper and transfer to warm soup plates. Garnish with the mushrooms, pancetta and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.

Suggested Pairing

The wild mushrooms in this dish suggest an Italian red, such as a Barolo or Chianti, or a fine Bordeaux.