Piccolo Forno Chef Cooks Up Signature Dish
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Officials have declared this week “Buy Local Pittsburgh Week” and as a reminder to support local, independent businesses, Pittsburgh Today Live featured one of the most popular restaurants around town: Piccolo Forno on Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
Owner and Chef Domenic Branduzzi cooked up one of his signature dishes for us: Winter Risotto.
2 T Olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 T chopped shallot
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped red pepper
1 ½ cups diced butternut squash
½ pound diced pancetta
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pound (two cups) Arborio rice
8 cups warm chicken broth
1 cup grated pecorino Romano
Place a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat with enough olive oil to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and shallot and saute until just barely golden. Next, add the onion and saute well until it is translucent.
In a separate pan, sauté the pancetta until almost crispy to render out some of the fat then set-aside until later.
Then add the squash and stir them with the onion for about 5-10 minutes. Next, add the zucchini and red peppers, and season all the vegetables with salt, pepper and the fresh herbs. Continue cooking and mixing the vegetables for another 10 minutes or until par cooked.
Add the crispy pancetta to the vegetables towards the end of the cooking.
At this point, add the rice directly to the vegetables and pancetta and mix well so the oil coats each kernel and the ingedients are well mixed. Add about 4 cups of the warm broth and mix well. Stir the contents periodically until the broth is soaked up by the rice.
Add the remaining broth 1 cup at a time and continue the process until the rice is cooked (still firm, not mushy). This could take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
Finish by adding the grated Pecorino Romano, stir in, then remove from the heat and serve.
Makes about 6 servings.