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Parsnip Risotto with Pancetta and Sage

Scott Phillips

Servings: four to six.

Sweet parsnips, salty pancetta, and aromatic sage—does winter food get any better?


  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 lb. medium parsnips, peeled, cored, and cut into medium dice (2-1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 1 cup)
  • 3 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh sage
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • Pinch of crumbled saffron (optional)
  • 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 590
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 190
  • Fat (g): 22
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 990
  • Carbohydrates (g): 81
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 17


  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the parsnips and boil until firm-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and spread on a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

    Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook until sizzling and crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the sage and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant and the sage is starting to crisp, about 2 minutes more. Set aside.

    Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil in an 11- to 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, a small pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

    Add the rice, 2 tsp. salt, and the saffron (if using), stirring well to coat. Add 2 cups of the broth and the wine; simmer, stirring, until the liquid is completely absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Continue adding the broth in 1 cup increments, stirring and adjusting the heat to maintain a brisk simmer and letting each addition be almost absorbed before adding the next. The risotto is done when the rice is nearly but not fully tender (al dente) and still a little soupy (this usually takes 14 to 16 minutes after the first addition of liquid). You may not use all the broth, but you should use at least 4 cups.

    Fold the parsnip mixture into the risotto. Add the butter and Parmigiano and stir gently to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with more grated Parmigiano.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • docdame | 11/13/2012

    This is a good recipe, but there is no way you should add the 2 teaspoons of salt with the onions and rice. I l have made risotto before and thought that was suspicious so only added one teaspoon. that was too much and I love salt!Don't add any additional salt, except for a pinch with the parsnips and any additional for flavor at the end

  • caitlin | 11/08/2009

    I don't know if it was underperforming parsnips or what, but this recipe didn't have much flavor except for the sage. I LOVE parsnips and ran out to make this once I saw it in the magazine: perhaps more parsnips? perhaps none of that fiddly coring if you are going to blanch them anyway? Or perhaps this should be saved for only the ultimate parsnips, snatched right from the farmer's market (my farmers market was sold out - mine came from Whole Foods)

  • Ricksbabe2 | 11/04/2009

    This was the first time that I had made risotto and it was delicious. I think that next time I would use slightly less sage. The amount of fresh sage was rather overpowering. The parmesan cheese really made the dish. Everyone at the table enjoyed it.

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