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risotto with nectarines, guanciale and lemon verbena

A beautiful summer risotto with very interesting aromatic contradictions

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 4 € pp)
  • 240 g carnaroli rice
  • 1 small glass white wine
  • 1,2 litre water
  • 1 large bunch of fresh lemon verbena
  • 100 g guanciale
  • 1 large or 2 small nectarine or peaches with firm flesh
  • EV sunflower oil
  • 1 small leek
  • Salt
  • 40 g Parmigiano or Grana cheese
  • 40 g butter
  • Black pepper

I always wanted to prepare a risotto with peaches. I generally love this fruit and I often use it to prepare salads and steak sides. So, I started by designing the dish and then making some trials on it.

We first of all need to buy some firm flesh peaches or nectarines. The fruits must not me too juicy, as we want them to keep their shape.

Then, we prepare the peach and lemon verbena “stock”. We remember to keep a very small quantity of tiny lemon verbena leaves for the final decoration and we put the rest of them in very cold water along with the peels of the nectarine(s) or peach(es). We boil for 10 minutes, we turn the heat off, we cover with cling film and we let infuse for 10 minutes more. We strain and we keep the stock.

We cut the half large (or one small) nectarine in cubes and the rest (or the other) in slices. We add a tablespoon of EV sunflower oil in the risotto pan and we gently fry the slices. We remove them and we let the pan cool.

We cut the fatty part of the guanciale to very very thin slices and then to very very small pieces and we add it to the (already cold) risotto pan. We melt the guanciale fat using low heat.

We continue with the soffritto. I decided to use leek, instead of the classic onion, as it has a sweeter and lighter taste. I suggest that you do the same, but If you don’t have a leek, don’t worry, use an onion. So, we mince the leek and we gently fry it in the melted guanciale fat and a little bit of EV sunflower oil for about 5 minutes.

In a small pan we lightly toast the rice, USING NO FAT AT ALL and when it is so hot that we cannot hold it in our hands, we pour it into the pan with the soffritto. We pour in the wine and then we start cooking the risotto, adding a ladle of very hot – boiling verbena-peach stock, whenever the liquid starts to get reduced. After 5 minutes we add the nectarine or peach cubes.

Meanwhile, in the small pan, where we had the rice toasted, we gently fry the guanciale flesh part, cut in cubes, using low heat, till they become crispy.

While the rice is being prepared, we also finely grate the cheese.

When the rice is cooked (al dente, of course), we remove the pan from the stove. We taste the salt, adding some, if required.

Stirring constantly, we start adding the butter, cut in dice and the cheese. We continue stirring, until we obtain a very creamy result, we cover the pan with a lid and we let it stand for about 3 minutes.

We plate and we decorate, as shown in the photos, with the nectarine slices, the guanciale cubes and the tiny lemon verbena leaves.


Published in RICE