creamy pancetta leek risotto : a small batch recipe for two (2024)

I’m such a sucker for romantic food. The thought of warm, rich, luscious comfort food is directly correlated to my excitement for fall. Creamy pancetta leek risotto does exactly that for me; it’ something I absolutely look forward to cooking and eating. Risotto may be my all-time favorite grain, due to the creaminess it produces once the starches are released through cooking. Another great attribute of risotto is the endless variations of flavor additions, which is another reason I love it so much.

creamy pancetta leek risotto : a small batch recipe for two (1)

There is also something romantic about the combination of pancetta and leeks. The contrasting colors, the undeniable flavor of the pancetta, and the subtle flavor of the leeks falling into step. It all seems meant to be.

Because pancetta comes from the belly of the pig, there is a significant amount of richness from the fatty element that makes up nearly half of it. The meatiness offers a salty, earthy taste, as well. It’s perfect with a vegetable that is milder in taste, such as leeks. I recommend them together as often as you’d like to try to pair them up. 🙂

creamy pancetta leek risotto : a small batch recipe for two (2)

Creamy pancetta and leek risotto is what I dream of on a dreary fall day. Sitting in my office, peering outside into the gloominess that awaits me the moment I leave. It makes me yearn for a cozy fire, chunky sweaters, big fuzzy socks, and a romantic dish of pasta. If I could live that dream every fall day, I would do it.

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Risotto is not difficult, but it does demand your attention. About forty-five minutes of your attention, but I promise it is well worth it. Once you sink into your couch, flip on the TV, and cradle a warm bowl of creamy pancetta leek risotto in your hands, the feeling of warmth and comfort will overtake you. Your stressful day will wash away, and the cold weather will be of no matter.

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Because certain foods transport you to the places you want to be. Part of the beauty of learning to cook is being able to transport yourself back to favorite memories, or creating new ones. Certain foods can do so much good for your soul. For me,this recipe is one of those.

Creamy pancetta leek risotto can be enjoyed any season. Devote a little time to it, and it will reward you greatly. Note : this recipe is for two! <3

creamy pancetta leek risotto : a small batch recipe for two (5)

Recipe Card

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Creamy Pancetta Leek Risotto

Author a flavor journal : sara rose

Course Main Course

Cuisine American

Servings 2 people

risotto for two! creamy, decadent, parmesan risotto blends with crispy pancetta and sautéed leeks. this romantic dish provides warmth and comfort for your soul.

Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 40 minutes mins

Total Time 45 minutes mins


  • 4 ounces pancetta chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup leek diced
  • 1/3 cup onion minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup aborio rice
  • pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • additional pepper to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme for garnish (optional)


  • Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan until it is simmering, then reduce the heat to low so it stays warm until we need to use it.

  • In a large sauté pan, cook the chopped pancetta over medium heat until dark red and becoming crispy. Remove from the pan, and set aside. Discard the excess liquid from the pan, then return the pan to the heat.

  • Add butter, let it melt, then add leeks and onion. Cook a couple of minutes, until very fragrant, soft, and onion is becoming translucent. Feel free to let the onion and leeks develop a little color as they cook, this adds some depth to the risotto!

  • Add garlic, cook for about a minute until fragrant and soft.

  • Add rice, and thoroughly mix it into leeks, onion, garlic, and butter. Allow the rice to toast and absorb all of the butter and flavors from the pan, about a minute.

  • Add the white wine, and continuously stir as it cooks into the rice and the alcohol evaporates.

  • Once the wine is absorbed completely, turn the heat down to medium-low and add 1/4 cup of the warmed chicken stock. Stir the stock and risotto slowly and continuously until the stock has absorbed into the rice.

  • Repeat this process using 1/4 cup of stock at a time, then the hot water. You will notice that the texture of the rice will change, it will become very soft, very pliable, and creamy.

  • If you need to add a touch of water or stock more, do it until everything has been absorbed and the risotto has a creamy texture but just a touch al dente.

  • Once this texture is achieved, add cream. Stir in completely.

  • Remove the risotto from the heat, and add the pancetta back into it. Stir to mix, then add the parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir everything into a gorgeous, luxurious blend of creamy pancetta leek risotto.

  • Feel free to top with a touch more fresh parmesan, then serve hot, and enjoy!


As noted in the recipe, don't be afraid to keep adding a touch of liquid until the texture of the rice "breaks", or becomes creamy. This can be your choice of liquid: chicken stock or water.
Focus more on adding pepper than salt. The parmesan and pancetta will add a saltiness to the risotto.
You may have some leftover chicken stock, and that's ok! It's better to have a little leftover than not enough!

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creamy pancetta leek risotto : a small batch recipe for two (2024)


What part of the leek do you eat? ›

Mostly just the white and light green parts are eaten, though the darker green parts have plenty of flavor and can either be cooked longer to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock.

How much is one leek chopped? ›

The amount that a leek will yield depends on its size. A small leek may only yield about ½ cup chopped, whereas a medium to large leek yields closer to 1 cup chopped. Remember, you typically only cut the white and light green part of a leek, so the dark green top and leaves do not count towards its size.

What does a leek taste like? ›

Leeks are alliums, so they're related to garlic, chives, shallots, and onions. Tasting them, you can tell. They have a sweet, oniony flavor that adds depth to soups, stews, pastas, and more!

How do I use leeks? ›

Most recipes call for the white and pale green parts of leeks, but the dark outer greens are equally delicious in stews, sautés, and pasta and grain dishes. In French cuisine, leek leaves are used to season broths, soups, and stews as part of a bouquet garni.

Is the green part of a leek poisonous? ›

The green part of leeks is very edible. Some recipes will call for only the white part of the leeks, where color is important, like for example if you'd be doing a white sauce, you'd use white pepper, so not to detract from the overall color.

Why are leeks so expensive? ›

They are tender and have a mild onion flavor with a slightly sweet edge. Leeks may be planted in late February to March for harvest in early- to mid-summer. Alternatively, they may be planted in July for harvest in late fall/early winter. Leek is an expensive crop to grow, because it is labor intensive.

Can you eat leek raw? ›

You can either: Eat Them Raw: Like onions, raw leeks have a pretty strong flavor. But when they are very thinly sliced, they can be a nice garnish for soups, salads, roasted veggies, meats, fishes, or other dishes. Or you can also mix them into green salads, dips, or salad dressings.

Are leeks good for you? ›

Leeks provide several nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and B6. Leeks are very low in calories, but do contain a decent amount of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins like vitamins A, B6, C, and K, and minerals like copper and manganese.

What is a leek called in America? ›

Wild leeks, also called ramps, are native to North America and have a strong garlic-onion flavor. There are many named varieties of leeks. They vary from long, green narrow-leaf types with long slender white stems to long wide-leaf types with thicker shorter white stems and blue-green leaves.

What are leeks called in the US? ›

Leeks are called leeks in the States but there are also wild leeks (aka ramps) and a type of allium in Spain called a calçot, which are larger than spring onions but smaller than leeks.

Are leeks easier on stomach than onions? ›

In addition to their great flavor, leeks are also a good source of dietary fiber, and contain large amounts of folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. They have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties and are easier to digest than regular onions.

What pairs well with leeks? ›

Don't be shy now—leeks love a good char. Pair them with zucchini as a side dish for grilled chicken or pork—or just serve with bread for a satisfying lunch.

How does Gordon Ramsay cook leeks? ›

Season leeks with soy, maple, sesame oil, and mirin. Top with sliced garlic and a few knobs of butter around the outside of the pan. Add just enough stock to cover leeks halfway, bring to a boil and pop into over to roast until caramelized and tender when pierced with a knife.

Why do you soak leeks in water? ›

Before cooking, it's important to thoroughly wash leeks as dirt and grit often gets trapped between the layers of leaves as they grow.

What part of the leek do you not eat? ›

In the US, England, and most other English-speaking areas, the dark green portion of the leek is fibrous and often has a "soapy" flavor which detracts from the flavor of the dish. It's not a good idea even to use those for vegetable stock, as the overall flavor is unpleasant.

Why don't you use the green part of leeks? ›

The common wisdom is that leek greens are so tough, they should only be used to make stock. I agree that leek greens are great to throw into stock, but that's far from their only use. Yes, the fact is that they are tough. But you know what makes tough things tender?

How much of a leek is edible? ›

While the whole leek is edible, primarily just the white and light green portions are used. The top leafy part is tougher to eat but still has flavor. If your recipe doesn't use the leek's dark green tops, save them for homemade veggie stock.

What does leeks do for your body? ›

Leeks are also a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that's essential for cell growth and development. In addition to vitamins and minerals, leeks are also high in fibre. This can help to keep your digestive system healthy and may reduce the risk of constipation, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.


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