Leek Risotto With Sugar Snap Peas and Pancetta
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to stir risotto constantly, but achieving a creamy risotto with slightly toothsome grains does require some attention. During the cooking process, the rice should always be lightly coated in liquid and bubbling energetically, and the liquid needs to be added gradually: Add just before the rice threatens to stick to the bottom of the pan. For the creamiest results, stir more frequently and more vigorously during the second half of the cooking, when the grains begin to release their starch.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½tablespoons olive oil
- 3ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon
- 1quart chicken stock
- 3large leeks, white parts only, split lengthwise, sliced 1/4-inch thick and thoroughly washed (about 3 cups)
- 2garlic cloves, smashed
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 ½cups arborio rice
- ½cup dry white wine
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2ounces grated Pecorino (about 3/4 cup), plus more for topping
- 8ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed, snap peas halved lengthwise
- ½cup snipped chives (optional)
Step 1Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to a large, wide saucepan, and add the pancetta slices. (It’s OK if they’re not in one layer, as they will shrink quite a bit.) Turn heat to medium and cook, turning and rearranging the pancetta until lightly browned, crisp, and the fat has rendered, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a paper towel, leaving the fat in the pan.
Step 2Add the stock and 1 cup water to a separate medium saucepan. Transfer the saucepan to a back burner and bring to a simmer over low. Keep warm on the lowest heat.
Step 3Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan that you cooked the pancetta in, and add the leeks, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, over medium-high until wilted and soft, about 5 minutes.
Step 4Add the rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until nearly absorbed, about 1 minute.
Step 5Add a ladleful of stock to the rice — you want just enough to barely cover the surface of the rice. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring very frequently, until it’s nearly absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue adding stock in this way until rice is very creamy, but still al dente, 15 to 20 minutes total. You may not need all of the liquid, but you will probably use most of it.
Step 6Stir in the butter and cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the snap peas. Add more of the remaining liquid if needed to loosen (it should be a bit soupy), and divide among four shallow bowls. Crumble the reserved pancetta over top, and sprinkle with chives, if desired.