Photo: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Robyn Valarik
Total Time
55 Mins
Serves 4

Elise Wiggins, chef at Panzano in Denver, makes her risotto with speck, a cured ham similar to prosciutto but with a flavor closer to pancetta. The smoky grilled kale is also great on its own.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat grill to medium (350° to 450°). In a large bowl, mix 1 tbsp. oil, the garlic, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Add kale and toss to coat well. Dump onto grill, quickly arrange in a single layer, and grill, turning once, until streaked brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to crisp up, then slice into ribbons about 1/2 in. wide and 3 to 4 in. long.

Step 2

Brown pancetta in a medium saucepan over medium heat, about 4 minutes (if using speck, don't cook). With a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add enough oil to fat in pan to make 2 tbsp.

Step 3

Add rice to pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until rice starts to toast slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; cook until onion is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add enough broth to just cover rice; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth to just cover rice and stirring until it's barely tender, 15 to 18 minutes. If needed, add more broth so risotto is loose-textured; it will thicken a bit as it stands.

Step 4

Remove risotto from heat and loosely fold in pancetta, mascarpone, walnuts, butter, and tomatoes. Fold in most of kale and spoon into a serving dish. Top with remaining kale and serve immediately.

Step 5

*You can buy speck on

Step 6

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Panzano, Denver, Colorado

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Ratings & Reviews

edclarke's Review

February 16, 2012
Just made this tonight with high hopes, I mean doesn't pancetta and mascarpone make everything better? Wrong. It was just plain bland, with hardly any flavor. It had the proper risotto texture, but just no flavor. I would have thought the onions, pancetta, butter, mascarpone, and stock would have imparted a nice savory flavor but oh well. Perhaps if you are a creative chef you can kick up the flavor in this one, but I think I'll just try other risotto recipes I know I enjoy next time, rather than try and mess with this one.

gotbidnezz's Review

January 04, 2015
I didn't find this dish too bland, though I was surprised that it didn't have a stronger flavor considering the ingredients. I used the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes to cook the onion, but substituted a shallot. I also used a cup of white wine to cook the risotto before I started to add broth. The kale was a pain. I cooked it in the oven instead of grilling it because I made this in winter. If you didn't want to go through the production you could buy kale chips. Don't skip the kale though, it adds a great and necessary texture. I also skipped the butter to save some calories and fat... it seemed like it had enough.

MartyOConnell's Review

November 12, 2013
This a delightful dish, with the listed ingredients how can you go wrong. But with all that fat you can't eat it very often.