½ cup dried Italian mushrooms
2 cups hot water
4 cups rich chicken or beef broth
2 ounces pancetta (Italian salt pork, available in pork specialty shops), diced finely, about 1/2 cup loosely packed
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon corn, peanut or vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups imported raw Italian rice
2 ounces prosciutto, cut into fine shreds, about 3/4 cup
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Place the mushrooms in a mixing bowl and add the 2 cups of hot water. Let stand 30 minutes or until softened.
2. Remove and squeeze the mushrooms. Strain the soaking liquid through a double thickness of cheesecloth to eliminate sand. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook down until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups. Add the chicken or beef broth, and bring barely to a simmer. Keep the mixture at a bare simmer as you cook the rice.
3. Cut the mushrooms in half and set aside.
4. Put the pancetta in a small skillet and cook until rendered of fat. Drain the pieces and set aside.
5. Melt half the butter and the oil in a large saucepan with a heavy bottom. Add the onion and cook over fairly low heat, stirring often, until the onion starts to brown. Add the pancetta and rice. Cook briefly until the rice is coated.
6. Add 1 cup of the broth and cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
7. Add 1/2 cup of broth and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the prosciutto and another 1/2 cup of broth. Cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes.
8. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth, half a cup at a time, for a total of approximately 25 minutes. After the rice has cooked for about half that time, add the mushrooms. There may be about half a cup of broth that has not been used. Save it for another use.
9. Stir the remaining butter and cheese into the risotto and serve. Serve, if desired, with red Treviso or radicchio salad (see recipe).
482 calories; 18 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 60 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 17 grams protein; 47 milligrams cholesterol; 746 milligrams sodium