I find too many people intimidated by the whole process of making a risotto dish but in fact it's quite easy once you know the method. Risotto is a dish that requires a whole lot of stirring and a whole lot of stock; other than that, you have a rice dish that you can add whatever ingredients you want to it. After I posted a simple sardines pasta dish I had quite a few comments from readers asking for more recipes using this underrated fish. I figured the best way to use canned sardines would be along side tons of vegetables. The fish just melts into the risotto and helps to create a beautiful fish sauce. So here you have it Food Tastes Yummy readers another sardines recipe coming up...

Serves 4


  • 5 cups chicken stock, warmed through
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices pancetta, sliced thin
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 cup arborio rice
  • coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small head broccoli florets
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 can sardines, drained
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • large handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Take the stock and re-heat it in a pot to warm through. Heat oil in a large deep shallow skillet, on medium heat, and render the pancetta until it is lightly crisped through. Using a slotted spoon transfer the crisped pancetta into a bowl for now. Saute the onions and garlic for a minute, then add in the arborio rice and lightly toast the rice for a minute. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of white wine, cook until the alcohol has cooked out. Make sure throughout the whole process to keep stirring. Start adding in the stock one ladle full at a time (about 1 cup), keep stirring throughout the whole process. When you see the stock start to evaporate, add another ladle full of stock.

3. Around the 3rd ladle full of stock add in the mushrooms, red bell pepper and broccoli. In the final ladle, add in the chopped fresh herbs, and Italian herb seasoning, then turn the heat off once the rice has cooked through. Note that you may or may not need to add another ladle, so try the rice and see if it has cooked to your liking.

4. Stir in the canned sardines, butter, and Parmesan cheese. Break up the sardines as you're stirring to make sure that it melts into the sauce. Serve the risotto immediately, sprinkling the crisped pancetta right on top.

Cook's substitution: If you're not into sardines or don't have any that day you can certainly substitute it for canned tuna instead.

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