Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

Posted by on Apr 28, 2021 in alcohol, bacon, Blog, boozy, Bready or Not, cheese galore, gluten-free, main dish, pork, side dish | 0 comments

This Pancetta Risotto is a fantastic meal for two people, or a delicious side for a group. It’s time-consuming but very straightforward to make.

Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

I confess, I spent years being intimidated by the very idea of a risotto. I would see it done on cooking shows. So much stirring! When I finally got up the gumption to give it a try, I found risotto wasn’t hard at all. It really is about lots of stirring.

Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

This recipe here is my fancy occasion recipe, especially when I have some good pancetta on hand, such as the kind carried by Smoking Goose Meatery out of Indianapolis.

Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

As for the wine, I’ve tried this with fancier Sauvignon Blanc from Total Wine (Cloudy Bay from New Zealand) as well as a $6 Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauvignon Blanc. Both versions turned out great! You don’t need to go all-out, but get something that is (hopefully) drinkable with the finished meal.

Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

Homemade risotto requires time standing at the stove, but makes for delicious results. This recipe takes about 45 minutes to an hour to completion, depending on your stove. Note that a small amount of bacon can be substituted for the pancetta, but it is much stronger in flavor and colors the risotto brown.
Course: Main Course, pork
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: alcohol, cheese, pork, rice
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • large stock pot
  • medium saucepan

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pancetta diced
  • 1 Tablespoon dried shallots or fresh shallot, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine Sauvignon Blanc works well
  • 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock, equal to a 32 oz box or 2 cans
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano, plus more to top rice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large stock pot, cook the pancetta for 10 to 12 minutes, until it starts to turn brown and crispy. At the same time, on another stove burner, use a medium sauce pan to bring the chicken broth to a very low simmer.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Add dry shallots and garlic to the fat in the big pot. Sauté for two minutes. Add the Arborio rice and a pinch of salt. Sauté another 2 minutes, until the rice looks glossy with translucent edges.
  • Add the white wine and stir until it is absorbed. Add chicken broth in 1/2 cup increments, stirring well after each addition until it is absorbed. After about 12 to 15 minutes, when most of the broth has been added, begin to taste the rice. The goal is a chewy, al dente consistency. Add more broth as needed, and remember to turn off the burner for the broth pot when it is empty.
  • When the rice is creamy and al dente, stir in the pancetta and cheese. Taste the risotto again, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Serve with the remaining white wine.

OM NOM NOM!

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    Book Blog: The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk

    Posted by on Apr 23, 2021 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

    I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

    midnight bargain

    The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk

    out now in print and ebook; BookShopB&N, and Amazon [affiliate link]

    Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

    In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

    The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken? 

    I checked out this book from my library as part of my reading of Nebula finalists for this year.

    I LOVE THIS BOOK. LOOOOOOOVE. It hits all of my sweet spots. A regency-inspired original world, with magic! Women striving for independence against societal expectations! A central romance with a guy who is a respectful, smart, supportive person, not a jerk! Smart heroines! Everything about this book is glorious and wonderful, including an ending that delivered a multitude of surprises and immense satisfaction.

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    Bready or Not: Glazed Citrus Loaf Cake

    Posted by on Apr 21, 2021 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, cake, lemon | 0 comments

    For times when you want some cake, not a huge cake, this Glazed Citrus Loaf Cake is about perfect.

    Bready or Not: Glazed Citrus Loaf Cake

    It’s not some huge thing to store. It doesn’t take forever to make. It’s easy to slice up, individually wrap, and freeze portions for later.

    Bready or Not: Glazed Citrus Loaf Cake

    Plus, it’s delicious. The cake is like a pound cake, soft and moist, with lemon and orange zest throughout. The bits of candied orange add a different texture in the mix.

    Bready or Not: Glazed Citrus Loaf Cake

    Then there’s that luscious glaze. It’s not a heavy frosting, but a boost of sweetness to balance the zing of the citrus.

    Bready or Not: Glazed Citrus Loaf Cake

    This is a great spring and summer kind of kind, one that tastes fresh and bright!

    I modified this recipe from my favorite food magazine, Bake from Scratch, the March/April 2020 issue.

    Bready or Not: Glazed Citrus Loaf Cake

    This loaf cake is infused with citrus flavor and sweetness. A slice is perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert! Modified from Bake from Scratch March/April 2020.
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine: Dutch
    Keyword: citrus, lemon, loaf cake
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • 9x5 loaf pan
    • parchment paper

    Ingredients

    Loaf

    • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) softened
    • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
    • 2 medium lemons
    • 1 medium orange
    • 4 large eggs room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
    • 2 cups cake flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/3 cup milk room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon cake flour
    • 1/2 cup candied orange slices finely chopped

    Vanilla Glaze

    • 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar plus more if needed
    • 2 Tablespoons half & half or heavy cream
    • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    Instructions

    • Wash, dry, and zest both lemons and orange. Set aside the fruit for another use.
    • Preheat oven at 325-degrees. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into a loaf pan and extend up the long sides, like a sling. Apply nonstick spray in pan, then press in parchment and add more spray. Set aside.
    • In a big bowl, beat butter, sugar, and zests together until they are fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Add eggs one by one, followed by the vanilla paste. The batter may look a bit curdled.
    • In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add it into the butter mix along with the milk. Batter will now be thick.
    • In a small bowl, toss together the candied orange bits and the teaspoon of cake flour to coat. Fold it into the batter.
    • Pour everything into the prepared loaf pan and even out the top.
    • Bake for 40 minutes. Rotate pan in oven. Bake for another 40 minutes. Test the middle with a toothpick for doneness, and bake for another 5 to 20 minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean.
    • Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes, then use the parchment to lift it onto a rack to cool completely.
    • Make the vanilla glaze by mixing together all the ingredients until they are smooth and at a thick, pourable consistency. Immediately drizzle and smear over the top of the cake, letting excess artfully drip over the sides. Let glaze set for 30 minutes, then slice in.
    • Wrap cake and keep at room temperature. It can also be cut into individual slices and frozen for later enjoyment.

    OM NOM NOM!

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      Book Blog: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

      Posted by on Apr 16, 2021 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

      I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

      dictionary of lost words

      The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

      out now in print and ebook; BookShop, B&N, and Amazon [affiliate link]

      I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

      Brilliantly written, thoroughly researched, deeply emotional. The Dictionary of Lost Words is an incredible work of literary and historical fiction.

      The lead character, Esme, grows up with the Oxford English Dictionary. Motherless, curious, she spends many of her earliest days playing and observing beneath the desk of her father in the ‘Scriptorium,’ set up in a shed on the Oxford grounds. It’s there she finds the abandoned slip for ‘bondmaid’ and begins collecting more words. At first, she steals discards from the Scriptorium, but as she grows up, she realizes there are lost words everywhere–words deemed too crude or low class to be included the decades-long labor of the dictionary, words especially used by women and the dismissed of society. She collects her words along with life experiences.

      This is a profound book, truly. It’s about words, and people, and love, and loss. It’s never preachy, but the messages are there. The way everything is delicately laced together is a marvel. The end of the book made me weepy more than once. There are some terrible tragic turns, and then–the very ending is a surprise culmination that resolves everything with stunning sweetness.

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