Chicken, pancetta and leek risotto, with Stilton

The creamy risotto can be so much more than boring wallpaper paste. The holy trio that is chicken, pancetta and leek can take you to only good places, and with a tweak here and there, your risotto will not only be quick and easy to whip up, but will also taste delicious and indulgent.

I am certainly not known for my patience so you’ll be glad to know this recipe does not involve standing at the hob adding stock one ladle at a time for half the evening. I prefer to use the ‘chuck it all in’ approach…

Serves 2

250g mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 chicken breasts, cubed
150g pancetta, cubed
1 large leek, washed and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
300g arborio risotto rice
150ml white wine
200ml hot stock (made with 1 chicken stock cube)
Half a teaspoon of paprika 
2 big handfuls of spinach
Blue Stilton (quantity to preference)

  1. Fry the mushrooms on a high heat in some oil until browned. Remove from the pan and leave aside in a bowl
  2. In the same pan, brown the chicken and pancetta together over a medium heat for no longer than 5 minutes – you don’t want to cook the chicken the whole way through at this point
  3. Next, add the leek and garlic and toss together for a minute or two
  4. Add the rice and herbs and continue frying for a minute
  5. Add the paprika, wine and the stock together, and once at boiling point, reduce to a low simmer
  6. After about 10 minutes, add a splash more of hot water, just enough to cover the mix. Add the mushrooms that have been resting, along with their mushroomy juices, and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes
  7. After this time, the rice should be done – you can tell this by seeing that there is still some sort of liquid there but when dragging the rice away from the bottom of the pan, you can see the bottom of the pan (ie no liquid fills its space)
  8. Add the spinach before taking the pan off the heat and serving. Crumble over the Stilton and enjoy!

Top tips

  • Worried about what you’re going to do with the rest of the wine once you’ve used it for this recipe? Unless you’re going to drink the rest, or some, freeze the remaining wine in a container and use as stock as and when you need it. I know, ‘there’s no such thing as leftover wine’. But if you’re like me and have willpower and restraint, you can take out a glass for you and tip the rest in the container. No hangovers tomorrow for the sake of using up a bottle
  • Only use a smidge of paprika in this. It’s only used to draw out the smokiness of the pancetta and add a touch of colour

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