Pancetta, Mushroom and Spinach Risotto Torte
This week/month is very risotto focused, as a friend of mine, Jeff at Culinary Disasters, recently hosted an Iron Chef type of competition: Battle Risotto.
This dish is a wonderfully flavourful dish, but because of the beaten egg whites, it’s incredibly light and fluffy, and not incredibly filling. Delicious served hot or cold, this dish makes a perfect brunch dish, or a lovely light dinner.
- 4 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 4 oz. spinach
- 3 oz. pancetta
- 1/2 C dry white wine
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh picked thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 sweet bell pepper,diced
- 4 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, finely grated
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- salt and ground black pepper
- 4 Tbs. butter
- butter for greasing
- chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- 1 Tbsp white truffle carpacio, for garnish (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
Add the stock to a sauce pan and warm on low heat.
In a separate pot, steam the spinach for 2 minutes, then drain and reserve.
Meanwhile, chop the pancetta coursely and add to a hot, dry non-stick skillet. Remove the pancetta after 4 minutes and set on a paper towel to absorb any additional grease.
Add the mushrooms and 1 Tbsp of butter to the pan, and cook on medium low heat until the mushrooms are soft, about 7 minutes.
In a separate large saucepan, gently fry the onion and pepper in the oil and butter for 3 minutes or until they are soft. Add the thyme and cook for 2 minutes more.
Stir in the arborio rice, cooking for a minute until it is completely coated in the fat, and then pour in the wine.
In one cup increments, add in the stock to the rice mixture, and stir continually until the rice seems to lose liquid. When you can drag your spoon through the risotto, and the risotto doesn’t come back together immediately, add more stock.
Add the hot stock, stirring constantly, until risotto is tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the spinach, mushrooms, and pancetta.
While that is simmering, grease a 10 in. round deep french oven and then line the base with a disc of waxed paper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir the cheese into the rice, allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes, then beat in the egg yolks.
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and carefully fold into the rice.
Turn into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour until risen, golden brown and slightly wobbly in the center.
Allow the torte to cool in the pan, then chill if serving cold.
Run a knife around pan and shake out onto serving plate.
Garnish with chopped parsley, truffle carpacio, or sliced tomatoes, if desired.