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Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta

Comfort food has a new name with this Creamy Leek Risotto topped with crispy salted pancetta. Treat your taste buds and your body with this hearty recipe!

For another nutritious comfort food recipe, sit back and relax with a bowl of my Creamy Tomato Basil Soup!

Creamy Leek Risotto Topped with Crispy Pancetta

Have you guys ever made Risotto before?

For a while it was one of those dishes that I was super intimidated to make.

Maybe it was too many Hell’s Kitchen episodes with Chef Ramsey yelling at all the “wanna be chefs.” All I knew was, it was one of those dishes I needed to build up the confidence to make.

Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta on a plate

I finally got the courage and decided to follow Giada De Laurentis recipe,  Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas. Not only was it absolutely delicious but it actually wasn’t too hard to make.

That being said, making risotto is a language of love. Stir stir stir!

Top view of Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta on a plate

Tips and Tricks on How to Make The Best Risotto

You do need to kinda hover over the pot to make sure that the liquid doesn’t run out.. and believe me the first time I made risotto I was watching that pot like a hawk.

But the second time… or this time for the Creamy Leek Risotto…. I knew what was involved. So I got me a little Sara Bareillas Pandora action going on a glass of wine and had a great time. Singing, Dancing, Stirring, Sipping, and Tasting!

This would even be a great date night dish to make together!

Close up view of Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta on a plate

One of the things I love the most about this risotto is the creaminess it has! There really isn’t too much cheese added to the dish but because you are slowly adding broth to the risotto as it cooks it transforms the arborio rice and turns it into one heavenly bite!

The leeks used in this dish are fantastic once they are cooked down, it gives this slight onion flavor but not over powering. Combined with the creaminess of the Risotto and topped with crispy salty Pancetta make this recipe to die for!

Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta on a plate with a fork

TIP!  For leeks you will need to prep them before you cook them. Leeks tend to carry alot of dirt in them so you will need to slice them up and put them in a big bowl of cold water. Give it a little stir and then let the leeks sit for a while. The dirt will start to fall to the bottom of the bowl then all you’ll need to do is drain and rinse the leeks and your good to go! Easy Peasy!

A bowl of sliced leeks

So put on your big girl panties {or superman underwear for all you men out there} and make this Creamy Leek Risotto.

You’ll be so glad you did, not only because it is absolutely delicious and my new favorite comfort food dish … but you’ll also be able to say that you conquered making Risotto!! Woot Woot!

Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta on a plate

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Image of Creamy Leek Risotto with Salted Pancetta

Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Italian


Comfort food has a new name with this Creamy Leek Risotto topped with crispy salted pancetta. Treat your taste buds and your body with this hearty recipe!


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 oz. of pancetta, small diced
  • 4 cups of leeks, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup of yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 cups of arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup of white wine
  • 5 3/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter


  1. Prepare the leeks, cut off the end of and then right before the dark green part of the leek starts. Next cut in half lengthways so you have two long pieces. Flip them over so both flat parts are lying face down on the cutting board. Thinly slice through the leeks. Place all sliced leeks into a bath of cold water and swirl leeks around a little bit. (leeks tend to hid alot of dirt in them so let the leeks sit for a while, dirt will fall off and gather in the bottom of the cold water bowl.) Drain well and let sit.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer and keep it warm the duration of cooking the risotto.
  3. In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, add olive oil and pancetta. Saute for 5 minutes until pancetta is slightly browned. Remove and place on a plate with paper towel.
  4. Add butter to the dutch oven, let melt and then add leeks, garlic, onion, and thyme. Saute for about 8-10 minutes, until leeks have wilted. Stirring occasionally.
  5. Next, add in arborio rice, stir to incorporate with vegetables and immediately add in white wine. Stir often until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  6. Next add in 1 cup of the broth to the leek rice pot, simmer over medium low heat. Stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Continue to cook until the rice is tender and creamy, adding broth in by cupfuls and stirring often. about 28-32 minutes. {I would add a cup of broth once I noticed that the rice was starting to lose the liquid}
  8. After you add in the last cup of chicken broth also squeeze in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and pecorino romano cheese.
  9. Stirring until the liquid is absorbed.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Finish off with crispy pancetta on top.
  12. Serve!

Keywords: risotto recipe, easy risotto recipe, best risotto recipe, how to make risotto, creamy risotto, comfort food recipe, side dish recipe, best side dish

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18 comments on “Creamy Leek Risotto with Crispy Pancetta”

  1. I would like to try this but I have not heard of pancetta. Can you tell me what this is and where I can buy it?
    Thank you. 🙂

    1. Hey Patricia, it is an italian cured pork belly… basically the italian bacon. 🙂 In our regular grocery store you can buy it in the speciality cheese section. If you can’t find it you can totally substitute the pancetta with regular bacon. I would use about 4-5 stripes. 🙂

  2. Avatar photo
    Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods

    I have such a hard time making rice here, but maybe risotto would work. I’m definitely going to give it a try. This looks delicious with that crispy pancetta 😀

  3. Avatar photo
    Danae @ Recipe Runner

    Risotto is my ultimate comfort food. There is something so satisfying about making it because it always looks so elegant and tastes incredible when you finish. I love this version with the leeks and pancetta, delicious! Pinned!

    1. I know.. you feel so fancy eating it and then as soon as you take the first bite its just automatic comfort! Love it! Thanks for the pin chica!

  4. Avatar photo
    Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    Looks delicious Krista! Gotta give this one a try.
    Risotto is fairly new for me. This version looks perfect!

    1. OH.. you need to try it again Melanie. I think this will be right up your alley based on the recipes on your blog. 🙂

  5. Avatar photo
    Bri | Bites of Bri

    Krista, I love risotto! For years, I was intimidated too but then I tried Giada’s Champagne risotto which was delicious and easy enough for a first timer. I love the leeks you added to this and I’m a huge fan of salty pancetta, so I’m pinning this 🙂

    1. Oh.. champagne risotto!? That sounds delicious and fancy all in one. If you liked that then you are going to love this.. the leeks are awesome and the pancetta gives it a little crunch. Thanks for pin sweet girl!