Risotto is essentially a peasant dish and, as such, it is one of the world’s most satisfying comfort foods. But because it absorbs many tastes and flavors, risotto can be served as a very refined and sophisticated dish, too. This hearty and peasantlike version showcases the rural, and very healthy, side. The abundance of the beans, peas, and other vegetables make it very rich in folate, iron, manganese and dietary fiber – all nutrients that can benefit your health in a variety of ways. After spending some time with the knife work you will have a dish that is at the same time fresh, creamy and light. The ingredients can be easily substituted with other vegetables, depending on what is in season and readily available. But don’t forget to try the creamy and buttery fava bean, it will add its own special taste and texture to the mix.
300 gr/ 10 oz fava a.k.a. broad beans
260 gr/ 9 oz fresh tomatoes, sliced
100 gr/ 3.5 oz frozen peas
3 dl/ 1 1/3 cups risotto rice (Carnaroli)
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 zucchine, sliced
1 onion, sliced
fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 liter / 4 1/3 cups vegetable stock
140 gr/ 5 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes (optional)
freshly grated parmigiano
a couple of fresh basil leaves
Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion, celery and carrots until the vegetables soften a bit. Add the cubed pancetta and continue frying for a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes, fava beans and the zucchini and keep cooking for about 10 minutes. Then, add the frozen peas with some fresh parsley and cook for further 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock and keep stirring. For Carnaroli rice it takes about 15 minutes to be al dente. Serve each plate with a couple of spoonfuls of parmigiano and fresh flat leaf parsley. Garnish with some basil leaves.