Risotto, cannellini beans, bacon, grilled leek, fontina

Risotto, cannellini beans, bacon, grilled leek, fontina

New Classics
6-8 generously
Mark Roper

I love the texture that the addition of cannellini beans gives this risotto. The smoky, charred leeks and the bacon add interest and the fontina adds rich, cheesy, melty goodness. This is an indulgent dish, not for the light-hearted or dieters!


Quantity Ingredient
1 brown onion, peeled and diced
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
500g arborio rice
375ml white wine
3 litres Chicken stock
2 leeks, white part only
200g kaiserfleisch or good-quality smoked bacon, cut into short batons
250g cooked cannellini beans
200g fontina, cubed with rind removed
100g parmesan, finely grated
100ml pouring cream, whipped
salt and pepper
chive tips
parmesan, shaved, for garnish


  1. In a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion in the extra-virgin olive oil until translucent. Add the arborio rice, mix well with the onion and fry for several minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce until the wine has evaporated. Add all the chicken stock and boil for 6 minutes.
  2. Strain the rice through a sieve, reserving the liquid, then spread out in an even, shallow layer on a large flat tray, to cool it quickly and evenly.
  3. Steam the leeks for 8–10 minutes until tender or until you can easily pierce them with a knife. Allow to cool and cut diagonally into 1 cm oval discs. Heat a griddle plate or chargrill pan until very hot, and cook the leek until there are evident grill lines.
  4. In a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, fry off the kaiserfleisch in a splash of olive oil for 4–5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden. Drain off any excess fat from the pan then add the cooked rice and enough of the reserved cooking starch to cover. Cook over medium heat, stirring all the time, for another 8 minutes or so, adding more liquid as you go until it’s all absorbed – you may need to use extra chicken stock. The rice should be al dente and creamy. Add the cannellini beans and cheeses and stir well. Add half the leek discs and the whipped cream and stir vigorously to aerate the risotto. Taste for seasoning. The risotto should be quite wet but nicely emulsified. Fold through the chive tips.
  5. To serve

    Divide the risotto into warm bowls and top with the remaining leek discs tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with the shaved parmesan and serve.
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