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Spring Risotto with Fava Beans, Pancetta and Pecorino Romano

Anthony & Elaina Scotto's  Garlic & Lemon, Spring Risotto with Fava Beans
Anthony & Elaina Scotto's Garlic & Lemon, Spring Risotto with Fava BeansNathan Congleton / TODAY


  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 shallots or 1 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen fava beans
  • 1/2 pound pancetta (Italian bacon) diced and sautéed until crispy (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chef notes

This flavorful risotto practically screams springtime. The seasonal fava beans, savory pancetta and freshly grated cheese make this the perfect entrée for any spring celebration.

Swap option: Make this dish vegetarian by swapping vegetable broth for the chicken broth and omitting the pancetta.



Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce heat and keep at a bare simmer so it just stays hot.


In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When butter has melted, add the shallots. Sauté for 3 minutes or until slightly translucent.


Add the rice to the pot and stir briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains of rice are coated with olive oil and butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma, but don't let the rice turn brown. Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.


Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.


Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy.


Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, fava beans, pancetta (is using) and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Top with additional grated cheese and serve.