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Easy & Cheesy Brown Rice Risotto

Making Risotto is a rite of passage for any cook, whether you're a seasoned professional or hobbyist food lover. There are countless variations, most involve cheese and all require time. Thankfully, we found a short cut to allow for half of all the ladling and stirring.

Using instant or quick cooking brown rice makes the delicate process of making a creamy Risotto much faster. To pair with the healthy bite brown rice has, I went with Pancetta and Peas. The Dairymaids' cooler is stocked with Pancetta from La Quercia in Iowa. One would never guess it's domestically produced. Sharpshooter and SarVecchio are stirred in to complete this hearty dish.

Other suggested additions: asparagus, prosciutto, shallots, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, seasonal squash, cheese, cheese and more cheese

* Serves 4

Terra Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 package La Quercia Pancetta
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups instant brown rice
2/3 cup white wine
4 cups warm chicken broth
6 oz SarVecchio, about 1/2 cup grated, plus extra for garnish
6 oz Sharpshooter Cheddar, about 1/2 cup grated
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed at room temp
Salt & pepper, to taste
Fresh flat leaf parsley

Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Chop pancetta to desired size and cook until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked pancetta from pot and strain on a plate lined with a paper towel, set aside. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of oil rendered from cooking the pancetta. You want the flavor from the browned bits, so use the same pot. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the minced garlic and brown rice. Stir to combine and cook until fragrant. Pour in the wine and let absorb.

In a separate pot, heat chicken broth to maintain a warm temperature (not boiling). Add warm broth to rice one ladleful at a time and stir frequently. When broth is almost completely absorbed add the next
ladleful. Repeat until the rice is cooked to desired doneness. You will use about 4 cups of broth, the process takes about 30 minutes over medium heat. When the rice is nearly done add one last ladleful of broth, peas, cooked pancetta and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and shaved SarVecchio. Serve with a simple arugula salad or roasted salmon.

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