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Leek & Pancetta Risotto

  • 50 m
  • 50 m
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“Sizzled pancetta gives this creamy leek risotto great flavor and a bit of added crispy texture. We add a splash of wine along with each addition of broth to give the dish a more pronounced wine flavor. If you'd prefer the wine to be more subtle, add the entire cup at the end of Step 3 and cook, stirring, until the liquid is gone, then begin adding the broth. You can substitute more broth in place of the wine. ”


    • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 4 ounces pancetta (see Note), cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 cups chopped leeks (whites & light green parts only), rinsed well
    • 1 cup chopped shallots or onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1½ cups arborio, carnaroli or other Italian “risotto” rice
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 1 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 1 Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
  • 2 Cook pancetta in a small nonstick pan over medium heat, stirring, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate while you prepare the rest of the risotto.
  • 3 Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add leeks, shallots (or onion) and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and salt and stir to coat.
  • 4 Stir ½ cup of the hot broth and a generous splash of wine into the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to cook on medium-low, adding broth in ½-cup increments followed by a splash of wine, and stirring frequently after each addition, until most of the liquid is absorbed. The risotto is done when you've used all the broth and wine and the rice is creamy and just tender, 25 to 35 minutes total.
  • 5 Remove from the heat; stir in ¾ cup cheese and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the crispy pancetta and the remaining ¼ cup cheese.
  • Note: Pancetta is an unsmoked Italian bacon usually found in the deli section of large supermarkets and specialty food stores.
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