Pea, Pancetta & Asparagus Risotto
When the wind howls and the leaves are smacking against your windows, there is only one answer for a lazy Sunday lunch. Ok, probably more than one, but there is one that is on high rotation in our little London flat right now: pea, pancetta and asparagus risotto.
The hubster fondly recalls pea and ham soup on the Top-Hits menu of his formative years, and sadly (for him), I’m yet to warm to to it. So this risotto is a compromise of sorts; a parmesan-topped olive branch draped with buttered asparagus stalks.
My secret ingredient? Lemon zest, right at the beginning. With the rich salty flavours of the pancetta and chicken stock, it adds a much-needed lightness to the dish. And I have learned never choose a white wine purely for cooking; you never need much more than a half cup for this recipe, and it invariably ends up in a glass before it does the pan.
Takes an hour, happily serves two
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- knob of butter
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium white onion
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup of arborio rice
- ½ cup of dry white wine
- 5 cups of chicken stock
- 120g diced pancetta
- ½ cup of frozen peas
- A handful of fine asparagus
- ½ cup of grated parmesan
- Salt & freshly cracked pepper
1. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and butter to a large frying pan. Slice and dice the celery stalks, garlic cloves and white onion. Add the lemon zest. Leave to fry until the onion is soft.
2. Add the remaining oil, and then the rice, stirring for about 3 minutes until the rice starts to go translucent in parts.
3. Pour in the white wine, and simmer until the wine has evaporated.
4. Add the chicken stock one ladle at a time, waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid each time.
5. In the meantime, boil the frozen peas and set aside. Cook asparagus in the oven with some salt and olive oil, or steam. Fry pancetta pieces until just browned.
6. Once the risotto has cooked and the rice is soft, take off the heat and add grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and add the peas and pancetta.
Plate up, draping the asparagus on top with a sprinkling of parmesan and season well. Best served ahead of a cosy movie marathon in a cloud of duvets.
With Love, Kate