Pasta, grains & rice

Risotto with bacon and beans and rosemary pesto and syrup

Risotto with bacon, beans, rosemary pesto and syrup

A twist on traditional bacon and beans – make a creamy, risotto bianco and add with white beans, a slow braised bacon side and serve with a zingy rosemary pesto and a dollop of apple syrup.


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150g of dried pinto beans (soaked overnight in water)
200g piece of smoked bacon
50g butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
250g Arborio rice
250ml dry white wine
900 ml of vegetable stock
3 sprigs rosemary
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
50g toasted pine nuts
100g grated Pecorino cheese
olive oil
4 tablespoons apple syrup or molasses


Cook the beans and the bacon for about 1 hour, with enough water so that they are just submerged.

Drain and add the cooking liquid it to the stock. Melt the butter in a large deep casserole and fry the onion and celery gently until translucent. Add the rice and beans to the pan and cook briefly.

Deglaze with the wine and bring to the boil. Pour in a ladleful of stock, and stir. Cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated and add another ladleful of stock. Continue adding stock and stirring for about 25 minutes until the rice and beans are almost done.

Remove from heat and spoon the remaining butter and half of the cheese. Put the lid on the pan and let stand. Slice the bacon and place the slices in the pan with the risotto to warm.

For the pesto: pick the rosemary needles from the twigs and roughly chop the parsley. Puree in a food processor with garlic, pine nuts, just a glug of olive oil and the rest of the Pecorino. Serve the risotto with the bacon, the pesto and spoon over some of apple syrup.