Risotto is one of my favourite foods to make. I think of it as an indulgent treat to stand mindlessly stirring dinner to switch off from the day and the result is a creamy delicious treat. It is so versatile and can take any flavours. For this recipe I’m using courgettes, which are still very much in season now.
In this Courgette Risotto with Pancetta, the grated courgette melts into the rice adding to its creaminess and the salty pancetta cuts through the creamy risotto. For me this is a perfect meal in itself but you can serve it as a side with white fish, duck or chicken.
Useful tips & links:
- To make this vegetarian, leave out the bacon, use vegetable stock and a suitable parmesan alternative.
- I grate, chop and slice the courgettes to give different textures to this. I like them cooked until soft but if you want it a little fresher, add the diced courgette halfway through to keep some bite.
- Add peas to make this extra green and sweet or some goats cheese on top for a different flavour.
- My favourite risotto recipe is still my first post on this blog – My Mushroom Risotto.
- Other ideas for courgette recipes – Baked Orzo with Courgette and Mozzarella which has delicious creamy texture from the grated courgettes again, or these delicious Carrot Courgette and Halloumi Fritters.
- Have a look at Kate’s delicious recipe for Lemon, Courgette and Hazelnut Risotto on Flavour.ie
Courgette Risotto with Pancetta
Serves 2 as a main, more as a side
- 60g of pancetta
- A tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 stick of celery, finely diced
- 2 large courgettes
- Black pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 200g of arborio or carnaroli rice
- 100ml white wine
- 750ml of hot veg or chicken stock
- The juice of half a lemon
- 50g of freshly grated parmesan, plus more to garnish
- Fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a wide shallow heavy based pan or casserole dish and fry the pancetta over a medium heat until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper but leave the fat in the pan.
- Add the diced shallot and celery and cook gently until soft.
- While they are cooking, prep the courgette. I like to finely slice a third of it, grate a third and dice the rest into small chunks. The grated courgette melts right into the risotto and the the chunks and slices add an interesting texture.
- When the shallot and celery have started to soften, add the courgette, season with black pepper and cook again until all are soft.
- Add the garlic and a little butter and cook until the butter has melted.
- Pour in the rice and stir until it is completely coated in the butter.
- Pour in the white wine and turn up the heat. Stir and cook until the wine is reduced.
- Add the hot stock one ladle at a time and stir through until absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and continue until all of the stock has been absorbed.
- Cook until the rice still has a little bite. If the stock is all used and the rice is still undercooked, add a little hot water. Add the lemon juice and parmesan and stir through. The risotto should be creamy but not too wet.
- Taste the risotto and season with more pepper if needed. You should not need any salt with the pancetta, stock and parmesan. Add more lemon juice if it is a little too rich.
- Just before serving stir through another knob of butter to make the risotto glossy.
- Stir through a little freshly torn basil and serve. Top with the pancetta, some more basil, black pepper and shavings of parmesan. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately with a simple green or tomato salad.