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Author Notes: I know I know, it's cold and rainy in most of the US but I ate this risotto one summer years ago and decided now was the time to try to recreate it. So think of this as a virtual summer vacation. Obviously, in high season the basil and cantaloupe will be even better but I was surprised at how tasty this was, regardless. —BrooklynBridget
- 1.5 cups pancetta
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 small ripe canteloupe
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 large shallots, minced
- 1 cup white wine (I used dry sauvignon blanc)
- 1/4 cup Madeira
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 4 tablespoons high quality olive oil
- Plentiful fresh ground pepper
- Optional: grated parmigiano-reggiano
- Dice pancetta. Add to hot saute pan and brown. Reserve cooked pancetta.
- While pancetta is cooking, halve cantaloupe, discard seeds and scoop out flesh. Add to food processor and puree until smooth.
- Heat chicken stock in small saucepan.
- In large saucepan on medium heat, add butter. When bubbling, add shallots and saute until aromatic (about 3 minutes)
- Add rice. Stir until rice is well-coated and heated. Add white wine and stir. When absorbed, add Madeira and stir until absorbed.
- Add 3/4 cup of cantaloupe puree to rice and stir. Reserve the remaining puree.
- When puree is warmed and combined with rice, add 1/3 cup of chicken stock, stirring until absorbed
- On low/medium heat, continue to add chicken broth, 1/3 cup at a time, as rice absorbs, stirring as needed, until risotto is tender, but not mushy, and most liquid has been absorbed. If chicken broth is used and rice needs more time, add hot water until rice is ready. Salt to taste.
- Meanwhile, in small food processor, combine basil and oil until smooth green oil emerges. You can strain out basil pieces but I don't.
- Before taking risotto off stove, fold in remaining cantaloupe puree. Add pancetta until all is warmed through and remove from heat..
- Before serving, drizzle with basil oil and and a serious dose of fresh ground black pepper.
- I know most risottos finish with cheese but I prefer this with just the oil and black pepper. But by all means, add grated parmigiano if desired.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Risotto (Savory)