1 container (32 oz.) chicken stock
A big pinch saffron (I didn't have)
3 tablespoons EVOO
1/3 pound pancetta, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound thin asparagus, sliced on an angle
1/3 cup fresh or thawed frozen organic peas (I left out)
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and sliced or torn basil, for garnishing
1. In a small saucepan, bring the stock, 1 cup water and the saffron to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta (or guanciale) to render the fat. Add the carrot, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the rice, then stir in the wine and cook to evaporate. Begin adding the stock a few ladlefuls at a time, stirring vigorously with each addition, and cook until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes. Add the asparagus halfway through cooking and add the peas in the last few minutes of cooking.
3. Stir the butter into the risotto to melt, then stir in the cheese; remove from the heat. Serve in shallow bowls and top with the parsley and basil.