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Creamy Pancetta Leek Risotto

a flavor journal : sara rose
risotto for two! creamy, decadent, parmesan risotto blends with crispy pancetta and sautéed leeks. this romantic dish provides warmth and comfort for your soul.
4.34 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people


  • 4 ounces pancetta chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup leek diced
  • 1/3 cup onion minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup aborio rice
  • pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • additional pepper to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme for garnish (optional)


  • Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan until it is simmering, then reduce the heat to low so it stays warm until we need to use it.
  • In a large sauté pan, cook the chopped pancetta over medium heat until dark red and becoming crispy. Remove from the pan, and set aside. Discard the excess liquid from the pan, then return the pan to the heat.
  • Add butter, let it melt, then add leeks and onion. Cook a couple of minutes, until very fragrant, soft, and onion is becoming translucent. Feel free to let the onion and leeks develop a little color as they cook, this adds some depth to the risotto!
  • Add garlic, cook for about a minute until fragrant and soft.
  • Add rice, and thoroughly mix it into leeks, onion, garlic, and butter. Allow the rice to toast and absorb all of the butter and flavors from the pan, about a minute.
  • Add the white wine, and continuously stir as it cooks into the rice and the alcohol evaporates.
  • Once the wine is absorbed completely, turn the heat down to medium-low and add 1/4 cup of the warmed chicken stock. Stir the stock and risotto slowly and continuously until the stock has absorbed into the rice.
  • Repeat this process using 1/4 cup of stock at a time, then the hot water. You will notice that the texture of the rice will change, it will become very soft, very pliable, and creamy.
  • If you need to add a touch of water or stock more, do it until everything has been absorbed and the risotto has a creamy texture but just a touch al dente.
  • Once this texture is achieved, add cream. Stir in completely.
  • Remove the risotto from the heat, and add the pancetta back into it. Stir to mix, then add the parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir everything into a gorgeous, luxurious blend of creamy pancetta leek risotto.
  • Feel free to top with a touch more fresh parmesan, then serve hot, and enjoy!


As noted in the recipe, don't be afraid to keep adding a touch of liquid until the texture of the rice "breaks", or becomes creamy. This can be your choice of liquid: chicken stock or water.
Focus more on adding pepper than salt. The parmesan and pancetta will add a saltiness to the risotto.
You may have some leftover chicken stock, and that's ok! It's better to have a little leftover than not enough!
Keyword leek risotto, pancetta leek risotto, pancetta risotto, risotto with leeks
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