Spring-inspired ingredients like pancetta, shallots, green peas and scallions make this creamy risotto recipe a delicious side dish to serve with seasonal entrées like roasted lamb, chicken and baked ham.
- 1/2 lb arborio rice
- 2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus more if needed)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 lb pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cream (or milk)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a slow simmer over medium heat.
- In a separate, larger saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drain all but 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan (if you don't have enough, add a bit more olive oil).
- Add the shallot to the pancetta and continue cooking, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir to thoroughly coat with the oil. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the wine and bring to a simmer.
- Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the broth has been absorbed. Keep adding broth in 1/2 cup increments, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more (see notes below).
- You'll need to stir continually while the risotto cooks and season to taste with salt and pepper two or three times during the process.
- Total cooking time is approximately 18 to 20 minutes, but start tasting after about 15 minutes and stop adding broth when you're happy with the texture. Unlike most other varieties of rice, arborio will always be somewhat firm to the bite.
- Once the rice is cooked to your liking, stir in the cream, peas and scallions and cook for 1 more minute to heat through. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve immediately.
- This recipe can be doubled to make 8 servings.
About cooking risotto:
As the risotto cooks and the exterior starch begins to break down, it's sometimes hard to determine when the last broth addition has been fully absorbed. One good way to tell is to drag a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan to make a path. If you can still see the bottom of the pan for a second or two as you draw the spoon across, the broth has been absorbed. If it fills in immediately behind your spoon, you need to cook a little longer before adding more liquid.