Risotto is one of my all-time favourite recipes – it’s the dinner I cook when it’s cold outside, when someone is feeling ill, when we just need something soothing for dinner. It isn’t just comforting to eat, I find it comforting to cook as well. I’ve made risotto so often that I don’t even think about the recipe any more. I chop, ladle and stir as if on autopilot.
But sometimes I don’t have time to stand and stir – the day has got away from me, there’s laundry that needs folding, or supermarket shopping that needs to be put away.
This easy Bacon and Pea Risotto means I can still serve up a soothing plateful of risotto, but without spending 30 minutes standing in front of the pan. It won’t have quite the same creaminess of a ‘proper’ risotto, but sometimes the trade-off is worth it!
Rapeseed oil is listed in the ingredients, as that is what I generally use – there are numerous health benefits attributed to rapeseed oil, and it’s produced in the UK as well. Obviously you can substitute olive oil, sunflower oil or whatever oil you would normally use for frying onions etc.
I haven’t specified a particular type of risotto rice, but many supermarkets will stock Arborio. You could also try Carnaroli or Vialone Nano.
Easy Bacon and Pea Risotto (Serves 2-3)
1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp rapeseed oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
150g bacon or pancetta, diced
250g risotto rice
150ml dry white wine (optional)
100g frozen peas
1 tbsp butter
Parmesan cheese to taste
Put the stock in a saucepan and keep it on a low heat – you want the stock to stay hot as you add it to the pan.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the diced onion and fry gently until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add the bacon or pancetta and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until some of the fat is running.
Stir in the risotto rice and cook for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat until the edges of each grain of rice have turned slightly translucent.
Pour in the wine, or a ladleful of stock and stir until it has all been absorbed by the rice.
Now add around a third of the stock, stir well and leave to bubble away over a medium/low heat until it has been absorbed by the rice. It will take around 6-8 minutes, so if you get chance, give it a stir from time to time.
Add another third of the stock and again, leave it to cook for another 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally as you pass by the stove.
Check the risotto at this point – it should almost be cooked, but still with a little bite to the rice. When it reaches this stage, add the peas with the last of the stock and cook until the stock has been absorbed.
This last stage is important. Stir in the butter and some parmesan cheese, put a lid on the saucepan, and leave for 2-3 minutes.
Serve the risotto on warmed plates, with extra Parmesan if required.