Spring Vegetable Risotto with Fava Beans, Morels and Pea Vines

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Fava Beans, Morels and Pea Vines

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Fava Beans, Morels and Pea Vines

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  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 6 ounces fresh morel mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 pound shelled fava beans (see note)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh pea vines, plus a few more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


In a medium saucepan, bring broth nearly to a boil, then reduce heat to low to keep warm. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, render and then crisp up the pancetta. Drain the pancetta on a paper towel, leaving some fat in the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pancetta fat and heat over medium-low heat. Add morels and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add favas and cook until warmed through, another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains of rice are mostly translucent but with an opaque center, about 3 minutes.

Add wine, stirring until the wine is almost completely absorbed. Add a ladle of broth (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup) and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth one ladleful at a time and cooking, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed, before adding another ladle of broth. After about 15 minutes, begin tasting the risotto before adding each new ladle of broth. When the rice is nearly done — firm but not crunchy — add another ladleful of broth, along with the morels, favas, pea vines, pancetta and marjoram.

Continue stirring, and when the broth has been absorbed, the rice should be al dente. Stir in a little more broth along with the Parmigiano, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topped with a few tender pea vine tips.

Special notes:

To shell favas, open the whole bean pod along the seam and pull each bean from the pod. Blanch the beans in salted water for 1 minute, then drain and chill in an ice water bath. Use your fingernails to pinch a bit of skin off one side of the bean. Squeeze the skin at the opposite side to pop out the bean.

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