I know what you’re thinking, but I swear I do not need a
I actually have been posting all the great recipes I made for a local tasting event: “Easy Winter Meals: Using the Crockpot”. It was a great event despite the snow. My goal was to reinvent some of my favorite traditional baked and stove top meals using a slow cooker. This Risotto with peas and pancetta (Italian bacon) was on the menu.
Everyone who tasted this dish loved it, but they were surprised that this Italian rice was made using the crockpot. Risotto, while not overly complicated, is the type of dish that takes along time to prepare. Traditional risotto requires patience as you stand over it stirring and adding stock for a lengthy period of time.
One of the reasons this dish works well in the Crock Pot is because risotto is made with arborio rice. Arborio rice is an italian rice designed to absorb a lot of liquid without breaking apart. There are different grades of arborio rice but the most common one I always find is the “super fino”. If you don’t think you can find this Italian rice in your local market or specialty store you can find Arborio Rice on Amazon.
I love this risotto because it takes away some of the intimidation we can feel when thinking of this classic dish. There’s a sense of ease when you can make a dish lets you”set it and forget it”. Well, don’t forget it totally – but the beauty is you CAN walk away from it while it does its thing. When it’s done you have an impressive side dish. I won’t claim this to be the most perfect risotto but I am going with pretty darn close. Follow the steps below and you will be pleasantly surprised. Once you figure out how easy it is you can make your own variations. I chose one of my favorite combos: peas and pancetta.
The most important note on this recipe is you really should use Italian Arborio rice. Other rices may not stand up to this recipe and fall apart. While I am sure you can make other rice in a crockpot, this recipe is specific to making this risotto.
Follow these next steps exactly (I wouldn’t skip) : 1. sauté the shallots and rice in a pan with butter and olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. 2. pour the stock into the pan;bring it to a boil. This helps give this dish a jump start . 3.Once the stock boils quickly and carefully transfer to the crockpot. 4. cover and set to low for 2 hours. 5. At the two hour mark warm some peas up and then quickly lift the lid to add the peas and give a quick a stir before placing the lid back on.
While the rice continues to finish cooking prepare a few slices of pancetta bacon in a sauté pan and cook until crispy. Once crispy enough to crumble remove from the pan. Let the pancetta cool and then crumble it. Once the half hour is up turn the crockpot to warm, add the pancetta and stir with some grated parmesan (or your favorite grated cheese).
Note: you can substitute pancetta with prosciutto or regular bacon (the flavors will change a bit but it is still going to be good)
A NOTE ON CROCKPOTS/SLOW- COOKERS: CROCKPOTS/SLOW-COOKERS ARE ALOT LIKE OVENS IN THAT THEY ALL VARY IN TEMPERATURE AND COOKING TIME. YOUR TIMES MAY NEED TO BE ADJUSTED IN YOUR SLOW COOKER. I USED A 3QT CROCK-POT (BRAND) COOKER.
Crockpot Risotto with Peas and Pancetta
- 3 3/4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 1/4 cups of Arborio Rice
- 1/2 cup shallots - diced
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4-6 slices of thin pancetta
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1/2 cup of parmesan
- In a sauté pan heat butter and oil; add the risotto and cook for a few minutes;add the chicken broth and bring to a quick boil.
- Pour the rice and stock into the crockpot, give a stir, cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
- While the rice is cooking crisp up 4-6 slices of thin pancetta in a sauté pan;crumble when cooked.
- After two hours add the peas (warm the peas before placing in the crockpot to prevent dropping the temperature too much).
- Cover and continue to cook another 1/2 hour or until the rice cooked.
- When cooked add the parmesan cheese and pancetta and stir.
- Serve warm.
Substitute pancetta with prosciutto or bacon
Extra rice make great rice balls or fritata
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