If you're just coming around to liking kale, as I am, this is a wonderful recipe to try — the healthy, bitter green is well balanced against the salty pancetta and creamy risotto rice.
- 1 Cup Arborio rice
- 3 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 Quart chicken broth
- 1 Small bunch dinosaur kale, stalks trimmed (aka Tuscan kale or Lacinato)
- 1/2 Cup diced pancetta
- 2 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 Cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
- 2 Tablespoon mascarpone
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the rice and oil to a large pot and cook for about 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat, making sure all the grains are coated with the oil.
(There is a misconception about risotto I would like to clear up: It does not need to be stirred constantly. Frequently, and with a watchful eye, yes.)
Now that that's out of the way, pour the chicken broth into a small pot over medium-low heat to warm (but don't bring it to a boil). Add about a third to a half cup of warmed chicken broth to the rice, stirring every so often to make sure the rice isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, add another portion of chicken broth, and stir. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked (when it's closer to al dente than soft.)
While the rice is cooking, prep the kale by cutting it in half lengthwise and then slicing it to a thin chiffonade.
In a medium pan over medium heat, add the pancetta, kale, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 15 minutes (adding a little olive oil if necessary), or until the kale has softened and the pancetta is crispy.
Add the cheeses to the rice and mix until fully incorporated, then add in the pancetta and kale mixture. Season with salt and black pepper as desired (careful with the salt though, there's a decent amount there naturally from the pancetta and cheese). Serve in a bowl or plate and garnish with a light sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.