Risotto with Fava Beans & Candied Lemon


My husband brought me home the May issue of the Italian version of the Cucina Italiana magazine last week and I have been drawn to the risotto cover photo ever since. I decided this week that I will simply have to make the risotto featured, which contains fava beans and is topped with candied lemon peel. We love risotto, but for some reason I simply do not make it often enough as there are always so many other dishes I want to try. Having picked up a two kilogram bag of fresh fava beans at the market this week, I finally planned to go ahead and make the risotto I’ve been craving since I first spied it on the cover. I made a few changes from the original recipe, eliminating some ingredients and including a little chopped pancetta, but we thoroughly enjoyed how the risotto turned out and it will certainly be a great recipe I can make for guests in the future. If you do not have access to fresh fava beans, I think you could substitute peas, and although the flavor will be different, I think it would be delicious as well.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Risotto With Fava Beans & Candied Lemon

A fresh and vibrant risotto dish to celebrate spring.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Pancetta
  • 1 1/2 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 6 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh, Shelled Fava Beans
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh, Chopped Parsley, or Other Fresh Chopped Herb

To Finish:

  • 1/4 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Candied Lemon

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Lemon

Directions:

  1. To Make The Candied Lemon: Heat the sugar and water in a small pan and cook until the mixture starts to become syrupy and just begins to color.
  2. Remove the peel from the lemon and cut away as much as the white pith as you can with a sharp knife.
  3. Cut the peel into thin strips and drop into the sugar syrup.
  4. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium low heat.
  5. Remove the peel from the syrup, letting it cool on a plate until needed.
  6. For The Risotto: Heat the 4 tablespoons of butter and oil in a heavy saucepan.
  7. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
  8. Add the pancetta and cook until no longer pink.
  9. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter and oil mixture.
  10. Begin to add the wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed.
  11. Start to add 1/2 cup of hot broth, stirring as it is absorbed.
  12. Continue in this manner, adding ladles full of hot broth, and stirring continuously.
  13. About 10 minutes into the cooking time, add the fava beans and continue cooking for about 15 minutes more, or until the rice is cooked, but remains slightly firm to the teeth.
  14. Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter and the pecorino cheese.
  15. Serve, scattering the candied lemon on top of each bowl of risotto.

Adapted From Cucina Italiana (Italian Version) by Deborah Mele