Broad bean risotto

Broad bean risotto

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

It’s really exciting when one of the kids takes to a meal you’ve cooked and it becomes their favourite. When the broad beans are in season, I tend to make quite a few meals with them, then blanch and freeze the excess beans for future food. I do like to make this meal while the beans are in season and fresh, but in the middle of winter, when you’re longing for something to remind you of sunnier days, a meal like this can really lift your winter spirits. Although this could be a vegetarian dish, I do like to add the smoked bacon if I have it. I think beans and bacon work really well together. It’s a clash of fresh and healthy versus fatty and smoky. And isn’t that what most of our food lives entail?


Quantity Ingredient
2 litres Home-made meat stock
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g risotto rice
250ml pinot grigio
350g podded broad beans, blanched and skinned
5 rashers Cold-smoked bacon, chopped
handful parsley, finely chopped, (optional)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
180g sharp pecorino, grated, plus extra slices to serve
50g butter


  1. Heat the stock in a saucepan over medium heat and keep it hot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and fry the onion, celery and garlic for 5 minutes, or until they colour and soften. Add the rice and stir through for a few minutes, or until it begins to look translucent. Add the wine and allow mostly to evaporate.
  3. Ladle in the stock one ladleful at a time, allowing it to be absorbed into the rice as you stir each time, then adding another ladleful. After 10 minutes of this process, add the beans, bacon and parsley, if using.
  4. Continue the process of adding stock until the rice is almost cooked through – tasting it is the best way to tell. Season well with salt and pepper.
  5. When the rice is cooked through, remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Add the knob of butter, pop on the lid and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with the sliced cheese and a sprinkle of black pepper.

Broad bean freezing tip:

  • Harvest your excess beans in spring. Blanch them for 5 minutes, cool them in iced water for 5 minutes, then portion into zip-lock bags and freeze.
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