crispy kale and pancetta risotto

As we all quite obviously know, I cook a lot.  Sometimes I make things and they're not that great.  Sometimes those things show up on here but often times not.  Sometimes I make things that are so great that I become quite impressed with myself for a few moments and swear I would have paid good money for the dish at a restaurant.  This pride is usually followed by the thought that I'm glad I didn't because I just made it at home!  This was one of those times.

I made this dish at my parents when Anderson was much younger.  It's got a few steps to it so it's the perfect meal to make on a lazy rainy day.  We've been having those lately so here you go.  It's also a good thing to make when you end up getting kale all the time and are sick of making kale chips or kale with creamy sesame dressing.

{Recipe thanks to and loosely adapted from Sunset}

{Ingredients You'll Need}
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 small bunch of Tuscan kale, stems and ribs removed
  • 1 oz. diced pancetta
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2 T. finely chopped onion
  • 6 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth- simmered
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil
  1. In a large bowl mix 1 T. oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Add kale and toss it to coat then grill on a single layer.  I used a grill pan but you could also do this on your outdoor grill.  You will grill them for about 3-5 minutes total, turning once.  Set them aside to crisp up and then slice them into ribbons.
  2. In a saucepan brown the pancetta for a few minutes and then using a slotted spoon transfer it to paper towel.  Keep the oil from the pancetta in the bottom of the saucepan.
  3. Add the rice to the pan, put the heat at medium, and toast it for 1-2 minutes before adding the onion and remaining salt and pepper.  Cook until onion is soft and then add about a ladle of broth- just enough to cover the rice- stirring until it absorbed then add in your next ladle.  Keep stirring and do this until all the broth is absorbed.  
  4. Remove the risotto from the heat and fold in the pancetta, mascarpone, walnuts, butter, and tomatoes.  Fold in most of the kale but reserve some to top your risotto with and then serve immediately!
Well aren't you fancy...

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