Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Caramelised Onion, Camembert and Pancetta Risotto

 Rich and sleep inducing, risotto is one of my favourite dishes. This particular risotto is creamy and melting from the camembert,with sweet onions contrasting against the savoury bacon or pancetta.

200g pancetta cubes or bacon, cubed
Butter for frying
4 onions
2 sticks celery
2 cloves garlic
250g risotto rice
1 glass dry white wine
1.5l chicken stock
150g camembert
4 tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra for the table

 Start with the caramelised onions- you can do them quite far in advance, if that suits. Peel and finely slice 3 of the onions, and cook very slowly in a heavy based in a good lump of butter until golden and easily crushable.  Set aside. Fry the bacon over a high heat until the fat is turning golden and crisping. Set aside with the onions.
Peel and chop the remaining onion, and chop the garlic and celery. Cook over a medium low heat  in some more butter until the onion has turned translucent. Meanwhile, put the stock in a pan over a medium heat so it is on a constant gentle simmer. Turn up the heat under the frying vegetables and stir the risotto rice in. Keep stirring, and cooking over this heat for about a minute, to 'toast' the rice. Pour in the wine, and as soon as the rice has absorbed it and the harsh alcohol smells have disappeared stir in the first ladleful of stock. Turn the heat down and continue in the usual risotto-making fashion, stirring constantly and adding a small amount of stock every time the previous amount has been absorbed by the rice. The rice is cooked when it is no longer chalky. It should be soft but not mush. A few minutes before this stage, stir in the onion and bacon. When the rice is ready, stir in another good lump of butter, the Parmesan,  and the camembert cut up. Put the lid on and leave for 2-3 minutes so all the lovely flavours and textures come together. Serve immediately.

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