what’s cooking wednesday: risotto with pancetta & peas

*Don’t forget that all this week is The Ultimate Blog Party!
Check out 5 minutes for mom to learn more about
how you can participate–everyone’s invited!

I love rice, but we don’t eat a whole lot of it because P was brought up, ironically, on the three Ps: pasta, pane, and pizza. So I figured that maybe if I threw things in with the rice that started with the letter P, maybe that would fly.

Clever, aren’t I?

So for this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday we have a delicious, quick risotto with pancetta (bacon if you must) and peas, which, if you’re wondering, are “piselli” in Italian, keeping the P theme alive.

FYI, it took me about 35-40 minutes from chopping to eating.

I used fresh peas that had been shelled and then frozen, but there’s no reason you can’t use canned peas–although it will change the flavor and for goodness’ sake, don’t cook them nearly as long or you’ll end up with a big ole mushy mess.

Ah, and another thing, I’m with Karen who says stir your risotto as often as you like and in any direction you see fit.

I trust you.

Risotto with Pancetta & Peas
(serves 4)

2 tbl olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 lb of pancetta, cubed
8 oz frozen peas
1 cup rice
1/2 glass white wine
1 1/2 cup broth
1 pat of butter
3 tbl grated parmegiano reggiano

Heat olive oil in large pan and add pancetta and onion. Let them cook for 3 or 4 minutes and then add the peas, still frozen. Mix well and cook until defrosted–just a few minutes.

At this point, add the rice and stir the mixture together, letting everyone get acquainted for a minute or two, and then add the wine.

Turn up the heat so the wine evaporates, and when it does, add some broth–enough so that it covers the risotto.

This will need to cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat with you stirring as you prefer (see note above referencing Karen). If you’re wondering how I do it, let’s just say it doesn’t involve continually stirring in perfect circles, and I think my risotto turned out great.

Within those 20 minutes, when you see the mixture getting dry, add some more broth.

When the rice is cooked to your satisfaction, mix in a dab of butter and grated cheese.

Turn off the heat and let the risotto sit for five minutes, then serve.

Buon appetito!


[tags]risotto, risotto recipes, peas, pancetta, recipes, what’s cooking wednesday, cooking[/tags]

13 Beans of Wisdom to “what’s cooking wednesday: risotto with pancetta & peas”
  1. Amber

    I. Love. Risotto. But am often discouraged from making it because the recipes are so complicated. Yours is definitely a “tryer!”

  2. Something...

    Do you use Canarolo or Arborio rice? Yours looks like a sociable rice that likes its own company.

    I make exactly the same Cabbage soup by the way. Yummy in winter. And peperoncino adds a bit of heat too.

  3. J

    I know what I am having for dinner.

    Pancetta is one of my favorite ingredients, ever. Peas are pretty high up there (though I can’t get them fresh right now).


  4. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    I will be making this. Mi piace risotto.

  5. goodthomas

    It is 9:02 in Chicago and this little Italian boy is very, very hungry.

    That looks sooooo good. Yummy.

  6. Waspgoddess

    Risotto, yum yum. But unfortunately there is a ban on starchy delicacies like these for a while in this house. I’m on day 7 on 43 day challenge to look hot on 38th birthday and when I weighed myself this morning it was exactly the same as a week ago. Aaarrghhh… but I must persevere. There is a delicious risotto recipe waiting for me at the end (and your gorgeous sounding carbonara from a few weeks ago).

  7. Laini Taylor

    Ooh, I love risotto, and I also stir it however I feel like! And I do recall that when I lived in Southern Italy (Gaeta) the culinary landscape was dominated by pizza and pasta. A friend came to visit us in Belgium after we moved away, a 20-something mammino (I think that’s how you say mama’s boy?) and he was so anxious if he couldn’t have pasta every single day like his mama made him at home!

  8. The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick

    I grew up eating risotto, too. Specifically Risotto Milanese, or “Yellow Rice” as we called it in my family when we were kids. Funny how some things never change. We still refer to it as that. It uses chicken broth, red wine, butter, parmesean cheese and the most important ingredient…saffron. My grandparents and great aunts/uncles used to grow it themselves until they got too old and/or passed away. Rainy Seattle is definitely not the environment for growing it, so I must make due with the stash I have hoarded away in my freezer. Seriously, it’s treated like gold in my family with how expensive it would be if we had to actually buy it. You do NOT give it away and it’s only made for family or special friends. LOL! But that will always be my absolute favorite. It’s one of the few recipes (that and meatballs and crustollis) that I can make from what my grandma handed down from her mother. Dang. It’s 7:36am and I am now craving risotto. Sigh. I’ll have to try your recipe, too. I’m loving “What’s Cooking Wenesdays.” 😉


  9. Ninotchka

    Looks absolutely divvy!

  10. Karen

    I know you’re a sister in arms when I say that risotto is, head and shoulders above the rest, the ultimate comfort food. I could eat it anytime, pretty much any way. Your recipe makes me wish I made risotto again tonight.

  11. Shan

    Risotto has always seemed really intimidating, but this seems easy. This I could try and very likely love. Thanks!

  12. Nadine

    I love Risotto, this looks like a good receipe. Thank you for sharing.

  13. The Other Girl

    Maybe it’s because I’m Japanese, but I studiously avoided risotto for years. The idea of butter and cheese in rice just sounded … not even not appetizing, but practically blasphemous. Then a few years ago, on a whim, I ordered a seafood risotto in a restaurant and oh. my. god. It was all I could do to not take my bowl, walk around the restaurant offering bites to people, and daring them not to admit it was the best thing they had ever eaten in their lives. So I’m a big risotto convert (even though a small bowl of plain white rice and pickled radish still makes me insanely happy).

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake