Valentine’s Day Romantic Risotto & Decadent White Chocolate Panna Cotta

Ah Valentine’s Day, what is it that they say – the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, let me tell you ladies and gentlemen – after your loved one tastes this you are going to be earning some serious brownie points.

The Risotto is quick and easy, but an extremely elegant dish bursting with rich, sumptuous flavour.

As this recipe only calls for one chicken fillet, try where possible to buy free range.

Arborio rice is essential to the dish, long grain just won’t work. This rice is available in all supermarkets and can sometimes be called carnaroli rice.

If you can’t get dried wild mushrooms try to opt for chestnut mushrooms rather than regular button as they have much more flavour.

The truffle oil to drizzle on top is a lovely touch but in no way essential. I know the bigger supermarkets stock it and it is quite reasonable.

In relation to dessert – please don’t get freaked out because you see the word gelatine. Tesco stock leaf gelatine and honestly my recipe is so easy to use, I promise it will work. It is a fabulous dessert, creamy and chocolaty but yet light and delicate.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and a special night with your loved one.

Lots of love,

Aisling x


Chicken, Pancetta & Wild Mushroom Risotto

Serves 2


1 tbsp butter & 1 tbsp oil

1 medium onion – diced

2 cloves garlic – peeled and crushed

150g Arborio risotto rice

450ml boiling stock

1 chicken fillet

40g pancetta/smoked streaky bacon

Handful dried porcini/wild mushrooms

A handful of green beans or asparagus or peas or broad beans (optional)

Handful of Parmesan cheese


  1. Peel and dice the onion and garlic. Chop the pancetta into lardons (small cubes). Combine the stock cubes and water – put on in a small pot to boil. Dice the chicken into small cubes. Pop the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for a few minutes.

2. Melt the butter & oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook on a medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook for another 2 mins.

3. Stir in 175g Arborio risotto rice. Cook for 1 minute. Add in the chicken. Drain the mushrooms, add them into the pot .

4. Add a third of the stock, simmer and keep stirring until all the stock has been absorbed. Stir using a wooden spatula – through the middle, scraping the base of the pot and around the sides.

5. Add another third of the stock, and continue to cook in the same way. While stirring and waiting grate the parmesan.

6. Finally, add a handful of chopped green beans, peas or asparagus and remaining stock.

7. Simmer until all the stock has been absorbed, stirring throughout. Once you have added the first batch of stock the cooking should take approximately 18 minutes. If all the liquid has been absorbed before this time, add some extra water and continue to cook. If it looks like the risotto is going to have too much liquid after the cooking time is up, turn up the heat a little.

8. At the end of cooking, taste the rice to ensure that it is cooked. It should retain a little ‘bite’. You can continue cooking for a few minutes more if it is not cooked enough.

9. When the rice is cooked to your taste, turn off the heat and cover pan with a lid. Season well with salt & pepper.

10. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then stir through some fresh Parmesan cheese before serving.

11. Garnish with some wild rocket leaves and for an extra fancy splurge drizzle with truffle oil.


White Chocolate Panna Cotta


Serves 2

125ml cream

70ml full fat milk

1 leaf gelatine

25g castor sugar

50g white chocolate

½  tsp vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract/seeds from ½ vanilla pod



1.            Pop the gelatine leaves in a bowl of COLD water and allow to soften for 5 mins.

2.            WARM the milk and cream together with the sugar and vanilla on a low heat. Do not boil.

3.            When warm, remove from the heat. Add in the chocolate. Remove the gelatine from the bowl. Squeeze out any water – it should be squidgy at this stage. Whisk the gelatine into the cream and milk mixture.

4.            Pour into ramekins/dishes. Set for 3 or 4 hours in the fridge or overnight.

For fabulous presentation drizzle the plate with melted white chocolate and serve with mixed berry compote.

Top Tip

The panna cotta can be served in a serving glass, alternatively lightly oil a small container ( glass/ramekin), pour in the panna cotta mixture, allow to set. Then for serving, run a warm knife around the edge of the container to loosen the panna cotta then gently turn out onto a plate. This may take a little wiggling and patience.


Warm Berry Compote


Serves 2

10g butter

1 tbsp caster sugar

½  tsp vanilla extract

Zest ½ orange

100g mixed berries


1.            Melt the butter over a low heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract.

2.            Cook until the sugar melts.

3.            Toss in the berries and zest.

4.            Give them a good shake, and then cook for 2-3 mins until the fruit starts to soften.  Do not mush up the fruit, stir gently.

5.            Spoon onto a plate and sit the panna cotta in the middle, alternatively drizzle the compote on top.

Top Tip

•             Make a much larger quantity and allow it to cool down. Store in an airtight container and serve with granola or yoghurt or porridge.


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