Roses, chocolate truffles, diamonds… Who wants that perfect love story anyways? Please, son. It’s time you stepped your game up in the kitchen and made her swoon with those semi-pro Iron Chef skills. Plus, nothing says I heart you more than droppin’ some cheddar on 15 lbs of Parmesan!
When you go into your local cheese shop and ask for a chunk of parm, more than likely you’ll be shown a piece weighing about half a pound. Kindly look the monger in the eyes and slap that shit out of his hands! Glut Life’s chunk of anything is 15 lbs and up. And don’t skimp by trying to buy cheap parm. Get Parmigiano Reggiano from Parma Italy with the official Consorzio stamp on the rind.
Before creating your bowl, make the risotto first. This dish is a perfect fit since you can scrape the sides of the parm bowl and get a burst of cheese every time:
White Truffle Risotto with Guanciale
What You’ll Need
- 6 cups – Low sodium chicken broth (heated)
- 2 cloves – Shallot chopped
- 2 tablespoon – Unsalted butter
- 1/4 LB – Guanciale sliced then chopped
- 2 cups – Arborio rice
- 2 cups – Baby spinach (packed)
- 1 cups – Baby portabella mushroom sliced
- 1 tablespoon – White truffle oil
- 1/2 cup – Parmigiano Reggiano shreds
Put the Oscar Mayer bacon and supermarket pancetta away! Guanciale is here to stay. Much more delicate and flavorful since its from the pork jowl, rubbed down with sea salt, juniper berries, bay leaves, rosemary and spice, and then cured for a couple weeks. Best thing about this is that since it’s cured, you can eat it right off the cutting board. But pace yourself.
Heat up a Dutch oven and add the butter and shallot. Let it lightly caramelize for about 2 minutes. Then add the guanciale and stir occasionally until pork is crispy. Remove some of the excess fat. Toss the rice in. The butter, rendered fat, spices and caramelized shallots will absorb into the grain a few seconds before it gets toasted. Mix it up occasionally for about 2 mins.
Now for the long part of this recipe. Ladle about two cups of warm broth and watch it boil instantly. Turn down the heat to low and let the grain drink up the liquid. Wait about 6-9 minutes to add another ladle of broth. Stir gently each time you add liquid. Do not over stir because you’ll end up with thick pasty risotto. While the risotto cooks, start carving your hunk of cheese.
Michelangelo’s David started off as a 6 ton block of marble and he turned it into a masterpiece. So how hard could this really be? First outline the heart-shape with a carving knife, then start to dig out the excess cheese around the outline.
On your 4th cup of broth dump in the mushrooms and spinach and fold in. By the 5th cup, taste the risotto. It should be soft and tender. Add salt/pepper to taste. If not, add more broth and continue to cook a little longer. Remove from heat. Time to set it off! Drizzle about a tablespoon of truffle oil over the risotto and mix it in. Don’t get carried away with the oil, it’s pretty intense.
Time to carve out a vessel to hold the risotto. Best tool to use is a melon baller. Form a “bowl” by chipping away at the parm. Put shavings in the risotto and mix in. Go as deep as you want to.
There you have it, an instant Valentine’s Day classic. Serve it with grilled asparagus tossed lightly with olive oil and sea salt. Pop a bottle of Banfi Chianti 2009 and enjoy in the splendor.