Fava Bean and Greens Risotto

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Emma Star Jensen

There's just enough creamy rice to hold together the generous tumble of favas and their greens, which taste similar to spinach.

Yield: Serves 4 (makes 7 cups)
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 50 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 716
  • Calories from fat: 37%
  • Protein: 42g
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrate: 86g
  • Fiber: 4.1g
  • Sodium: 1113mg
  • Cholesterol: 75mg


  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 qt. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • About 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 cup Arborio or sushi rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • About 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 qts. lightly packed fava greens* (leaves and tender sprigs) or leaves from mature (not baby) spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups double-shelled fava beans (see "How to Double-Shell Favas," below)
  • About 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese


  1. 1. Brown pancetta in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon, leaving fat in pot.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, bring broth and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan, or microwave in a glass measuring cup until hot.
  3. 3. Reduce heat under large pot to medium. Add enough oil to fat to make 3 tbsp. Stir in green onions, fennel, rice, salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper; cook, stirring, until rice is opaque, about 3 minutes. Stir in broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring constantly until almost all the broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender to the bite, about 20 minutes; the texture should be fairly soupy. Remove from heat.
  4. 4. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until just starting to brown. Add fava greens and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until bright green, wilted, and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. 5. Fold fava greens and beans, 1/2 cup cheese, and the pancetta into risotto. Stir in about 1/4 cup more hot water to loosen the texture. Spoon into bowls, grind more pepper on top, and serve with more cheese if you like.
  6. *Find at farmers' markets.
  7. How to Double-Shell Favas: Makes 2 cups 30 minutes Tear open 3 lbs. fava pods*. Add beans from pods to a pot of boiling salted water and return to a boil. Cook just until beans are tender beneath skin (slit to check), 2 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Peel leathery skin by tearing beans open at rounded ends and popping out beans. *Find at well-stocked grocery stores and farmers' markets. Make ahead: All but the final peeling, up to 1 day, chilled.
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