jerusalem artichoke, wild mushroom and crispy pancetta risotto
last year i learnt how to make really good risottos using root vegetables. the secret is to use the relevant root to make a stock, as well as adding it to the risotto in some other form (chunked and roasted is easiest).
in this case i had a kilogram of jerusalem artichokes and 500g were finely sliced and added, along with a couple of cloves of garlic, to an onion that had been sautéed in olive oil plus just under a litre of water. this simmered gently and when the ‘chokes were soft was blitzed to form a thin broth, which you use as your stock for the risotto. the recipe (dennis cotter's) calls for this to be passed through a puree but given i had roasted the remaining 500g and planned to add them to the dish i decided not to bother.
last time i made jerusalem artichoke i served it topped with scallops, but this version is better. the wild mushrooms were sautéed with garlic in some melted butter. seasoning and a handful of parsley provided the finishing touch.
the crispy pancetta was the result of david’s dislike of mushrooms, and an alternative topping for him, but actually the two worked brilliantly together – risottos made with this sort of stock always seem particularly rich and creamy (this was probably helped by the larger than usual amount of parmesan i added) and the jeruslem artichokes slightly sweet earthy flavour contrasted fabulously with the fresh garlicky mushrooms and the smoke of the pancetta.
i think it might be the best risotto i’ve ever made.