Bacon, leek and Pea Risotto
This is quite a healthy risotto as I use low fat spray instead of butter and low fat soft cheese instead of Mascarpone which is quite heavy on the calories. But the main change is the rice… or lack of it. Instead of using the traditional Arborio rice, I’m using Pearl barley instead. Barley is a lot less carbs and a lot more fibre.
The sweetness of the leeks and peas really make this mouth-watering! Risottos have an air of intimidation about them but really all they take is some attention, but that attention will lead to a wonderful meal.
Tip: keep the stock warm in a separate saucepan on a low/medium heat. It cuts cooking time and makes the risotto come together better.
517 calories per portion for 2
258 calories per portion for 4
Serves 2 as dinner, 4 as starter:
100g bacon lardons
2 cloves of garlic
3 medium leeks finely
Low fat spray
200g pearl barley
700ml chicken stock
A handful of frozen peas
1 tablespoon of low-fat soft cheese
Crushed black pepper
Peel and finely chop the shallots and garlic, wash and finely slice the leeks.
Spray some low fat oil into a large saucepan and fry off the bacon lardons, crisping them up. Then add another spray of oil and gently fry off the shallots and garlic for 2 minutes, add the leeks and sweat for 3-4 minutes.
Pour in the barley and stir around for a minute to gently toast then add in a ladle and a half of the warm stock. Stir around frequently. When this has absorbed pour in another ladle of stock in and the peas continue adding the stock ladle by ladle, each time it’s fully absorbed, until all the stock is used up.
When all the stock is used up in the risotto remove it from the heat, add in the low-fat soft cheese and season with cracked black pepper and stir well. Serve immediately.