Browse All Recipes

Rice and lentil risotto with pancetta

undefined main

By Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • Print
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.


  • 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


  • 1
    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.
  • 2
    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).
  • 3
    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.
  • 4
    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.


Drink Suggestion: Vibrant Sicilian frappato. Drink suggestion by Max Allen