Lockdown Staple: Pea, Parmesan & Pancetta Risotto


Quick, Simple & Tasty Risotto 

Back in 2018 I was asked to create a three course Easter meal for Sainsbury’s magazine and since then, this risotto recipe has been my go-to ever since. It is a go-to as I always have peas and spinach in the freezer so if it is friends crashing for dinner, a lockdown staple or cook along live, everyone seems to love it.

I have dug the recipe out from the archives as it is too good not to share again, it is definitely a recipe you can freestyle with, add in anything that you have in your fridge or freezer that you love or just need to use up.



April 2018 

Founder Alex served up a seasonal Spring vegetable and pancetta risotto recipe for the March issue of Sainsbury’s magazine – it’s east to make and great for feeding a crowd; simply put the saucepan on the table next to a stack of bowls and a chunk of Parmesan for grating and let everyone dig in.


1 x 206g pack cubetti di pancetta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
350g risotto rice
150ml white wine
1.5 litres hot chicken stock* or veg stock*, made with 2 stock cubes
125g unsalted butter
300g frozen peas
1 x 100g bag baby leaf spinach
100g Parmesan, grated
Zest of 1 lemon to garnish


  1. Fry the pancetta in a heavy-based wide saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil until nice and crispy, then remove with a draining spoon and leave to the side.
  2. Heat the rest of the olive oil in the saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic. Stir occasionally until softened – about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and allow the oil to coat it. Stir for 1 minute before adding in the wine. Allow to simmer and reduce for another minute.
  4. Now keep the heat to a simmer (one trick for a good risotto is to not let it boil at any point). Start slowly adding the stock ladle by ladle, allowing the rice to absorb the stock after each addition. This will take around 25-30 minutes.
  5. Once half the stock is in, add half the unsalted butter to the pan and stir it into the rice.
  6. Keep adding the stock and stirring gently until the risotto is creamy in appearance and the rice is al dente. You may not need to add all the stock.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, add the peas and pancetta and stir for another 5 minutes with a final ladle of stock.
  8. Take the pan off the heat and add the rest of the butter, the spinach and two-thirds of the Parmesan. Taste the risotto and season to taste.
  9. Serve in bowls and garnish with the lemon zest, some cracked black pepper and the rest of the Parmesan.