I think a lot of people are intimidated by risotto. It’s true that you need to add the broth 1/4 cup at a time, but if you pour yourself a glass of vino and keep an eye on the pot in no time 30 minutes have gone by and a delicious creamy meal is awaiting you.

I bought pancetta for a recipe but ended up not using it so this was a perfect opportunity to use it. I like how crispy it gets but still firm and it has a really nice salty bacon flavour.

The leeks are a really nice change from just garlic and although risotto is usually cooked with white wine, I liked the bold red wine for variety.

(Italians, don’t read the following ?) If you are one of my Belize followers you might have a hard time finding arborio rice. So you can substitute arborio with plain long grain rice, but not brown rice.

Risotto is best served right away and any leftovers can be refrigerated and can used to make arrancini (filled, breaded and deep fried rice balls) the following day.

If you want added protein you could top it with grilled shrimp, scallops or sausage. Top with some fresh parsley, freshly cracked black pepper and a little bit more parm or Romano cheese.

Serve with a fresh garden salad and a few crostini and enjoy!!

Leek, Pancetta and Red Wine Risotto

A creamy, filling meal that's easily cooked in 30 minutes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 People


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Pancetta, chopped
  • 1 Cup Leek Stem Diced Slice down the centre to clean the layers of debris. Use white part only
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic cloves, minced About 2 large clives
  • 1/2 Cup Dry red wine I used Montepulciano
  • 5 Cups Broth I use vegetable but you can use chicken or beef
  • 1 Tbsp Salted butter
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Black pepper to taste Try and use freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/3 Cup Arborio rice


  • In a medium size pot heat on low your broth.
  • In another pot add a little oil and on medium heat cook pancetta till browned. Remove from pot and put on plate w paper towel to absorb oil.
  • In same pot add leeks and cook on medium heat till beginning to sweat, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook a further 3 minuted.
  • Add red wine and let reduce, about 5 minutes. Then add rice and stir well.
  • Add 1/4 cup of broth and stir well. Make sure heat isn't too high. Once rice has absorbed broth, about 7 minutes, add another 1/4 cup of broth and stir well. Continue until all broth is used, about 20 minutes.
  • Once all broth is used turn off heat, add butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir well. Add pancetta and stir well. Add salt only if needed.
  • Serve immediately, topped with freshly cracked black pepper, chopped parsley, and a little bit more grated cheese.
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