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Rice and lentil risotto with pancetta

This recipe is inspired by a dish chef O Tama Carey used to serve when she was at Sydney's Berta. The combination of rice, lentils and crisp onion is reminiscent of Lebanon's mujaddara, but with a distinctly Italian twist.

You'll need

80 gm small green lentils 2 tbsp olive oil 70 gm butter, diced 1 onion, finely chopped 125 gm mild pancetta, diced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 300 gm carnaroli rice 100 ml dry white wine 800 ml hot chicken stock 50 gm finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve To serve: coarsely chopped thyme   Crisp onion 1 tbsp olive oil 20 gm butter, diced 1 onion, thinly sliced


  • 01
  • Combine lentils and enough cold water to cover generously in a saucepan, bring to the boil, cook until half-cooked (6-8 minutes), then drain and set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, heat oil and half the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, pancetta and garlic, season to taste and sauté until onion is tender and pancetta is crisp (5-6 minutes). Add rice and stir to coat and lightly toast (1-2 minutes). Add wine, stir until reduced by half, then add lentils and stir to combine. Add stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until stock is absorbed before adding more. Stir until rice is al dente and lentils are tender (15-20 minutes).
  • 03
  • For crisp onion, heat oil and butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat until butter foams, add onion and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (6-7 minutes; remove from heat just before it reaches the colour you’re after because it will keep cooking), tip into a bowl and set aside.
  • 04
  • Once cooked, remove risotto from heat and stir in parmesan and remaining butter. Season to taste and serve hot scattered with crisp onion, thyme and extra parmesan.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Vibrant Sicilian frappato.

Featured in

Jun 2015

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