Ali Matteini

a life creative

My Cucina Toscana: Pea & Pancetta Risotto

Risotto is a winter favourite for us, especially when we’re a bit pasta-ed out but want something with some savoury oomph for lunch.

Like with most pasta, Italians tend to err on the slightly al dente side when cooking risotto, and generally use fewer ingredients than its colourful latin cousin the paella.
The trick is in the stock and in the stirring: the stock needs to be hot and ideally home-made, and the stirring not too fast or too slowly, so that each grain cooks evenly.



  • Arborio rice, washed, 1 cup
  • olive oil, 2 Tbsp
  • rosato (rosé) wine, 1/2 cup (I used the Peteglia rosato, pictured below)
  • pancetta, diced
  • peas, fresh, frozen or canned or canned, about 1/4 cup
  • tomato paste concentrate, 1 teaspoon
  • garlic, 1 large clove, chopped
  • thyme 1/2 tspn dried
  • chicken or vegetable stock, ready-to-use or home made, 500ml (don’t use a cube in this as it’ll overpower the lovely flavours)
  • pepper & salt to taste (remember that the prosciutto will be fairly salt-heavy)
  • Philadelphia cream cheese, 1 tbsp (you can also use stracchino if you prefer, which gives a lovely rich result)
  • mascarpone, 1 heaped tbsp



Heat stock, add tomato paste, stir well and set aside.
Add oil pancetta, garlic and thyme to pan and cook for 5 minutes on med-high heat.

Add rice and stir to coat well with oil and pancetta fat [diet starts NEVER, remember!] for a minute or two then add rosato wine, stirring until evaporated.

Add stock, one ladle at a time, stirring slowly and methodically in between so that all the rice cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once you add the stock the cooking process should take around 18 minutes to make the rice al dente. Set a timer as a guide.

At around the 12 minute mark add the peas and stir through.

Add the cream cheese, mascarpone, salt and pepper, stir, turn off the heat and, if not yet dairy-fied enough, serve with grated pecorino or parmigiano.


Fight the idea of winter tooth and nail and serve with a large glass of crisp, dry, bright, aromatic rosato. Buon appetito!

A presto,
Cheers & Ciao,

Ali 🙂

2 comments on “My Cucina Toscana: Pea & Pancetta Risotto

  1. Joyce Poggi Hager
    January 13, 2016


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This entry was posted on January 13, 2016 by in Cooking, creativity, My Cucina Toscana and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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