Even though I only spent a few days in Franciacorta, I was totally smitten. The sparkling wine there is fantastic, the area is gorgeous Italian countryside, and the people were so kind. But, when it comes to food, far and away our meal at Barboglio de Gaioncelli was my favorite. And, of that meal, their risotto made with Franciacorta wine and robiola cheese and their creamy Parmesan casoncelli pasta were my favorites. So, when I got back, I combined the two to create this dish, inspired by the restaurant and the ingredients of the area. Made with sparkling wine, pears, crisp speck (smoked prosciutto), and tons of cheese, it's the perfect risotto for colder weather.
ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise then thinly sliced crosswise
or robiola bosina cheese, for garnish (optional)
Heat the oven to 400°F. Place broth in a small saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add leek, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange the prosciutto in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside. Meanwhile, add the grains and stir to coat in the oil. Add the wine and cook until alcohol smell is cooked off.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add simmer, adding the broth one ladleful at a time and stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed (it should be cooking at a simmer the whole time). Continue adding broth until it is all absorbed and the barley is al dente (firm but not chalky) and the risotto is a porridge-like consistency, about 30 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup of water, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir in pears. If desired, add vinegar, cover and set aside to rest a few minutes. Stir in the Parmiggiano cheese then taste and adjust seasoning.
Divide risotto among serving bowls, top with mascarpone or robiola, drizzle with olive oil, top with crisp speck, add freshly ground black pepper, and serve.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp // My trip was sponsored by Franciacorta Consorzio but all content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting these sponsors who allow us to keep Salt & Wind up and running.