Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta
Lawson’s recipe calls for garlic-flavoured oil, which I don’t generally have on hand.
If you do, just use that in place of olive oil and continue with the recipe.
If not, I’ve adjusted the recipe below to flavour the oil at the start of cooking.
Otherwise, this recipe is as appears in Nigellissima.
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
6 oz (170 g) cubed pancetta 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) frozen peas
1/2 lb (250 g) orzo pasta 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) boiling water
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp (15 mL) soft butter 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated Parmesan
Pepper, to taste
Warm the oil in a heavy pan that will take everything later; a Dutch oven or saucepan of 10 inches diameter should be plenty big enough.
Add the garlic and let cook until fragrant, swirling in the oil occasionally, about 3 or 4 minutes. (Don’t let it brown; that will add a bitter flavour to the dish.) Remove the garlic. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until it becomes crisp and bronzed, then add the peas and stir for a minute or so until the frozen look leaves them.
Add the pasta and turn it about in the pancetta and peas then pour in the boiling water.
Add salt (cautiously, especially if this is for children — the pancetta is salty, as is the Parmesan later); then turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, though check on it a couple of times and give a stir or two, to stop it from sticking and to see if you need to add a little more water from the kettle.
When it’s ready, the pasta should be soft and starchy and the water absorbed.
Beat the butter and Parmesan into the pan, check the seasoning and serve immediately into warm waiting bowls.
Serves 2 hungry grown-ups or 4 small children.