Lemon Risotto with Pancetta & Peas

A little lemon in my risotto makes me think of spring.  Crisp up some pancetta and stir in some peas (and asparagus too!) and it’s spring in a bowl.  Bonus…risotto is super easy to make…even on weeknight!

This recipe serves four adults.  

Shopping List
2 quarts chicken stock
a quarter pound of pancetta, diced into cubes
1 shallot, chopped (or half of a red onion)
1 cup Arborio rice
about 1 cup of frozen peas
about 10 pieces of asparagus, diced into bite sized pieces
the zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and Salt and Pepper, of course!
This meal should take you about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Relax…risotto is a cinch!

In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock up to low simmer (not boiling, just a simmer…keep a lid on it to trap liquid inside).
In a separate pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of EVOO over medium-high heat and add in your pancetta and crisp up for about 5 minutes or so.  Next, add in your shallots a and cook a few minutes.  Stir in rice for another minute.
At this point, take a ladle and add 1 cup of your hot stock to the rice.  Stir constantly for a minute or so.  As the liquid evaporates, the rice will become super starchy and delicious.  Stir pretty often, adding stock every time the majority of the liquid evaporates.  You will continue doing this for about 18 minutes.  Add stock, stir, wait for it to evaporate and add more.  This will cause the risotto to fluff up and look creamy (without using any cream!)  A lot of recipes will tell you to stir continuously…but you don’t need to.  Just stir it around every few minutes and you’ll be fine.

After the rice is tender (take a bite!), stir in your peas and asparagus along with about 2 tablespoons or so of zest and lemon juice. Continue cooking another 5-6 minutes (it doesn’t take long for everything to heat up in the risotto).  Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
That’s it!
The lemon just brightens up everything (without being too powerful).  Spring in a bowl on a weeknight.  Yum.
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  • Narci April 14, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I've never made risotto before but this looks delish!

  • TorontoSAM April 14, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    This recipe has my name written all over it! I have made your sweet potato risotto and will add this one to the rotation.

  • C Lincoln April 16, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Is the asparagus pre cooked or do you just add it uncooked?

  • Carol Woodrow April 21, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    This sounds so great thank u!

  • Carol Woodrow April 22, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    I just bought fresh^

    Can I please say this literally was the yummiest thing I've ever had in my life. I'm a sucker for lemon and rice so the two with the veggies and pancetta…. DELECTABLE!!!!