Parsley, bacon + broad bean risotto

Parsley, bacon + broad bean risotto

By
From
A Lot on Her Plate
Serves
2-4
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

This pretty green risotto is a frugal but delightful dish to cook for loved ones. It uses economical ingredients in a refined way, and melds harmonious flavours that will have you begging for seconds. Taking the traditional flavour combination of broad beans and parsley, it ramps it up a notch by adding salty bacon and rich risotto. Try to find the smallest, newest broad beans you can for this.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
150g shelled fresh or frozen broad beans
50g spinach leaves
60g flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for frying (if necessary)
10g butter
4 rashers good-quality smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons or strips
1 onion, finely chopped
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig thyme, leaves picked
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
150g arborio risotto rice
75ml dry white wine
750ml Chicken stock (+ poached chicken breast), warm, (prefarably homemade)
20g parmesan, grated, plus extra to garnish
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method

  1. Blanch the broad beans in a pan of boiling salted water for a couple of minutes, until al dente. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of iced water, and peel them (if the skins are tough). Using the same boiling water, blanch the spinach and parsley until wilted but still bright green. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leave to cool for a moment and squeeze out the excess water. Transfer the spinach and parsley to a food processor or mini-chopper (or use a stick blender) with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of water and blitz to a fine purée. Set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil and half the butter in a large non-stick frying pan or heavy-based saucepan and fry the bacon for about 5 minutes until it starts crisping up. Its fat will have melted out into the pan. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add the onion to the pan with a good grind of black pepper and the thyme, coating it in the fat and scraping up any crusty bits from the bottom of the frying pan. Cook over a medium heat. You want it soft but not browned. Add the garlic and stir. Add a slosh more olive oil if the pan is looking dry, then add the rice, stirring to coat it in the oil and cook for a couple of minutes, until it turns translucent. Pour in the white wine, which will deglaze the pan and start to evaporate almost instantly. Stir to incorporate, and cook for 2 minutes until it has mostly evaporated, and then add 1 ladleful of the warm stock and stir until absorbed.
  4. Continue this process a ladleful at a time, for 20–30 minutes, stirring continually, until all the stock is absorbed, and the rice is creamy but still a little al dente and retaining a little bite, but with no hard chalky core. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the Parmesan and the remaining butter, and then the parsley and spinach purée, stirring thoroughly to incorporate it and create a vivid green risotto. Stir through the crispy bacon, broad beans and lemon juice, and season to taste.
  5. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan.
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