I found this recipe in Fine Cooking. I do think that the parsnip is THE unheralded vegetable. You find it mainly in soups, or added to a vegetable dish, but always as the bridesmaid, never the bride. That is why I had to try this recipe. With a few of my own nondairy modifications, this dish was brilliant. Parsnip was the star.
Parsnip risotto with pancetta and sage
1 1/2 pounds 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 ounces chopped pancetta (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons 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)
4 – 6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons margarine
2 ounces grated soy parmesan; more for serving
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the parsnips and boil until firm-tender, 3 – 5 minutes. Drain and spread on a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black 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 tablespoons olive oil in an 12″ straight-sided saute 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, 1 teaspoon salt, and the saffron, stirring well to coat. Add 2 cups of the broth and the wine; simmer, stirring, until the liquid is completely absorbed, 3 – 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 (usually takes 14 – 16 minutes after the first addition of liquid). You may or may not use all the broth, but should use at least 4 cups.
Fold in the parsnip mixture into the risotto. Add the margarine and parmesan and stir gently to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with more soy parmesan. Makes 4 – 6 servings.