Matt & Lentil Purbrick · Lach's Bacon And Veggie Brown Rice Risotto

For most of us city slickers, making a meal generally involves a trip to the local supermarket. For Matt and Lentil Purbrick, it’s as easy as walking out into their garden in regional Victoria! Since 2014, the Grown and Gathered duo has been sharing their skills, knowledge and belief that health and happiness can be found by taking our modern lifestyles back to basics. Last week, they published their second book, The Village, exploring the idea of experiencing food, together!

Expanding on some of the ideas found in Matt and Lentil’s first book, Grown and Gathered, this second volume focuses on the importance of nurturing your own community, the values and history of villages, and how the experience of sharing meals strengthens relationships. With this in mind, it seems rather fitting that for the first in a four-part series, Matt and Lentil share a risotto recipe from one of their mates, Lach.

Matt and Lentil Purbrick

A hearty risotto recipe from Matt and Lentil’s friend Lachy, who makes it almost every time they go over! Photo – Shantanu Starick.

This risotto can be made with whatever leftover bits and bobs you have in the fridge. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

A very wholesome dinner table! Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Lentil and Matt Purbrick, authors of ‘The Village’ cookbook. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

‘The Village’ cookbook by Matt and Lentil Purbrick. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Lentil Purbrick
4th of September 2018

This book, in a way, is not complete within itself. It’s the next step – of our life and our lessons – and a continuation of our first book. As we said then, we are forever learning. The ideas in this book represent only what we know now. Our truth is in this moment. Until the next chapter.

Our friend Lachy is a big part of what makes up our ‘family’. When we go to his place for dinner, he almost always makes a version of ‘risotto’ – always different, but kind of the same. Getting Lachy to give you even a semblance of a recipe, for one of his many versions of risotto, is like asking a cow to talk. Never going to happen. But I think we have nailed a replica of it, and we’ve tried to add his voice to the recipe so you get the full experience. Hope it makes sense! Enjoy the experience – it’s one we love.


extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, diced

100g smoked bacon, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

180g mushrooms, diced

2 carrots, finely diced

1/4 bunch (30g) of flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks separated, both finely chopped

400g zucchini/summer squash, asparagus or broccoli (whatever is in season), finely diced

250 ml (1 cup) white or red wine

440g (2 cups) medium grain brown rice, soaked for 12-24 hours in water with a splash of vinegar, then drained 

750ml (3 cups) stock of your choice

4 baby spring onions, finely sliced

3 heaped tablespoons of parmesan cheese (add more if you like it extra cheesy!


Add a big splash of oil to a big, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5-ish minutes until softened. Add the bacon, garlic, mushrooms, carrot, parsley stalks and thyme – get it all in there – and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

Add the zuke/squash, asparagus or broccoli and cook for 4-5 minutes until the liquid from the vegetables has floated away. Deglaze with half the wine, and stir for a minute to boil off the alcohol. Add the rice, stir thoroughly and fry for 2-3 minutes, letting it get all sizzle-y and sticky-to-the-pan-y. Add the remaining wine and the stock, enough to cover everything. Bring to a simmer (keep stirring!), then reduce to low heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes undisturbed.

It should be getting pretty al dente after 30 minutes, and the liquid level will have dropped below the rice. Season to taste (be generous – about 2 teaspoons if your stock is unseasoned) and add the spring onion, chopped parsley leaves and parmesan. Stir thoroughly to combine, cover and cook for 15 minutes undisturbed, then remove from heat.

Serve with a splash of oil, a sprinkling of parsley leaves and acidic things like lemon juice and something to balance all that cheese and bacon voluptuousness!

Recipe Notes
Lach actually prefers to use bacon bones, which are leftover pork bones that have been cured and smoked – ask your local butcher. He just throws them in at the start, and when the risotto’s ready, the meat will have come away from the bones.

All sorts of mushrooms are great for this, but our favourites are king browns, Swiss browns, saffron milk caps, slippery jacks or morels, depending on the season!

Part of a Lachy risotto is that you are freely allowed to replace ingredients with leftover bits and pieces from the fridge. So, feel free to experiment.

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