This is a wonderfully earthy recipe, combining the powerfully-savoury taste of thyme with the substantial broad beans, and the strong pancetta and dairy-free cheese. I use the Cheezly dairy-free cheeses because I think they’re the best on the market – and my favourites are the White Cheddar Style, Red Cheddar Style and the new Blue Style Cheezly. These are all made with soya but if you don’t want to eat soya, they also make a Soya Free Cheezly which is really good.
Broad beans are in season right now (and lovely), so if you can get fresh ones, it’s well worth the extra effort of shelling them (and if you have time to skin them, even better!) But don’t worry if you can only get the frozen variety – this dish will still be delicious.
* gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free, citrus-free
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250g/9oz/heaped 1 cup arborio or other risotto rice
- 300ml/10½fl oz/scant 1¼ cups organic dry white wine
- 800ml/28fl oz/scant 3¼ cups hot, gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free vegetable stock, or vegetable stock made from gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free stock powder
- 1kg/2lb 4oz broad beans, shelled, or 450g/1lb/heaped 2½ cups shelled broad beans
- 200g/7oz pancetta
- 1½ tbsp chopped thyme leaves
- 1 handful chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- 75g/2½oz dairy-free cheese, shaved
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then lower the heat and stir in the rice until it is well coated in oil.
- Pour a little of the wine into the mixture and stir. Continue cooking over a low heat, gradually adding and stirring in the wine, until it has all been absorbed. Add a ladle of the hot stock and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding and stirring in the hot stock for 18–20 minutes until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Meanwhile, steam the broad beans in a saucepan of boiling water or a steamer for 5-7 minutes, depending on their size, until they are just tender. Remove from the heat, drain and set to one side. (And remove the skins if you have time.)
- Pour the remaining oil into a heavy-based frying pan and heat over a medium heat until hot. Add the pancetta and fry for 4-6 minutes until just crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
- When the risotto mixture is almost cooked, season lightly with salt and pepper to taste and add the beans and pancetta. Stir in carefully and continue to cook for a further minute until the rice is soft but still has a slight bite and all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the thyme (and parsley leaves if using), and sprinkle with the shavings of cheese. Serve immediately.