Red Wine Risotto with BeansWe take on risotto when we look forward to the meditative, hands-on process. The “Red Wine Risotto with Beans,” from the January/February 2018 issue of Cook’s Illustrated (recipe below), includes red wine, canned beans, as well as cabbage, pancetta, and soppressata. I was intrigued.

Red Wine Risotto with Beans
Cook’s Illustrated, January/February 2018
Serves 6 to 8

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
6 oz. salami, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups chicken broth
1 small head green cabbage, halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 (15-oa.) can pinto beans, rinsed
1 cup hot tap water, plus extra as needed
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup), plus extra for serving
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion, carrot, celery, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add rice and salami and cook, stirring frequently, until rice grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in broth, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through simmering.

Stir in cabbage and continue to cook, covered, until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just al dente, 6 to 9 minutes longer. (I had to cook an additional 4 minutes here.)

Add beans and hot water and stir gently and constantly until risotto is creamy, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and butter. If desired, add up to 1 cup extra hot water to create fluid, pourable consistency. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately, passing extra Parmesan separately.

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Enjoy chopping all the vegetables. I cut up my beautiful, fatty pancetta and ripe soppressata with scissors. Make sure your pot is bubbling before you cover to simmer for 10 minutes. The stew’s color is appealingly orange, thanks to the tomato paste and red wine.

I did add another half cup of hot water at the end, to make this “fluid and pourable.” Add 1½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper.

Soppressata brings such a special, funky, peppery heartiness to this dish. The butter and parmesan give a magical greasy layer to the flavor. And that slight crunch of cabbage is a treat.

Am I saying enough flattering things? Dive into this winner.

Pancetta (3 oz.) = $6.05
Onion (1) = .39¢
Soppressata (6 oz.) = $6.24
Pinto Beans (15oz. can) = $1.84

PREP TIME: chop lots of vegetables and cured meats, cook for an hour
TASTE: funky/peppery soppressata, ripe pancetta, butter/parmesan duo, crunchy cabbage

Next time, I want to make the “Mongolian Beef,” from Closet Cooking. Come back to my site next week, to see some more saucy goodness.