Pancetta and Spring Pea Risotto brings out the wonderful sweet flavor of spring peas (and heightens that with the salty goodness of pancetta or bacon!).
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 5 cups homemade broth (or use 4 cups commercial broth diluted with 1 cup of water)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 oz. pancetta or thin-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup aborio rice
- 2 cups fresh or frozen shelled sweet peas/garden peas/English peas
- 2 Tbsp. butter or heavy cream
- 3/4 cup freshly shredded Pecorino cheese
- Put the broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Keep it at a very low simmer.
- Meanwhile, heat another medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Cook, stirring, until the pancetta starts to brown.
- Add the garlic and green onions. Cook, stirring, until they are soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir to completely coat it with the oil and pancetta. Cook, stirring until the opaque rice grains turn a bit translucent around the edges.
- Add about a cup of the warm broth to the rice and cook, stirring as you like. Adjust the heat so that when you're not stirring the mixture simmers a bit but doesn't boil or get too excited. When most of the broth is absorbed – when you can see the bottom of the pot for a few seconds when you stir because the mixture is thicker than the broth – add another 1/2 cup broth. Continue cooking, with some stirring, and adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time until the rice is almost tender to the bite, about 15 minutes.
- Add more broth and continue cooking and stirring and adding broth as needed until the rice is al dente – tender but with structure to each grain. Add the peas.
- Continue cooking, adding a bit more broth and stirring, until the peas are tender and warm, just two or three minutes. Stir in the butter or cream and about half of the cheese and taste – add salt if you want. Serve garnished with the remaining cheese and freshly ground black pepper.