An Italian rice dish. But that sounds so ordinary. And Risotto is extraordinary. And to call it just “rice” is technically inaccurate.
For in order to be called Risotto, a short-grained, round, high-starch rice is used. The most common of these is Arborio Rice. Arborio Rice is easier to find these days due to the popularity and deep love of Risotto. For once you have it, you’re hooked.
This rice has the ability to absorb a lot of liquid and to release a lot of starchy liquid in return, which ends up in the creamiest, yummiest rice dish you will find yourself wanting again and again.
Risotto always starts the same way. The rice granules are sautéed in olive oil or butter and then wine is added. Once the wine cooks out, heated broth is ladled in a little at a time just until it mostly absorbs, and then a little more is added. And, the important thing is, you don’t walk away and you stir like crazy. The stirring and hot broth releases the starch from the outside of the rice grains to make an almost cream-like broth.
It’s to die for.
Once you learn the basics of Risotto, you can try all kinds of variations. Spring sings louder with chopped Asparagus in your Risotto. Fall? How about Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto? (That’s next on my list).
Tonight, however, Mr. Wonderful was working late, and it was the perfect chick-friendly meal for me. Sometimes, I’m not sure if he’ll like things like Risotto. However, he came home and cleaned up the bowl on this one.
I decided to use my two favorite things.
Bacon and Mushrooms.
The first thing you need to do is grab 2 large pots. In one, heat up 7 cups of chicken broth. You want it hot but not boiling.
Chop up about half a package of bacon into 1/2-inch strips. Did you know there is a fancy name for bacon bits? It’s called lardons.
Lardons are a beautiful thing.
Also chop up one-half of a medium onion. Add both to your 2nd large pot and turn your heat on medium.
Stir these lovelies together fora bout 5-7 minutes or until the bacon begins to crisp up and the onions turn translucent.
Toss in a whole package of sliced cremini mushrooms. (No picture). These are actually baby Portabello mushrooms. You can chop them up if they’re a little large. I may do that next time. Turn your heat up a little and continue stirring the mushrooms until they turn brown and juicy. Add in 1 pretty good size clove of garlic or 2 smaller ones.
Stir that around for about a minute to let the garlic release it’s flavor but not get burned.
You should have plenty of oil from your bacon, but if it’s dry, add a tiny splash of olive oil to your pan.in one and 3/4 cups of Arborio rice. Stir it around for about 1 minute.
Get 3/4 cup of dry white wine. You could skip this step and just use broth, but it truly adds a wonderful flavor into the Risotto.
Pour the wine right on in.
And no nipping from the glass people! You’ll need to stir until the wine is almost fully absorbed into the rice.
When it gets to that point, you will now need to start adding in your broth about 1 cup at a time. I just use a soup ladle full. It’s not rocket science.
Add in one ladle.
You should have your heat on medium to medium-high. Stir with a large spoon until it appears the liquid is mostly absorbed.
Repeat this process until you use all your broth – this will take around 20 minutes. Stir, add broth, stir, add broth.
I get a small spoon and test the rice after about 15 minutes. You want your rice al-dente or with a tiny bit of chew or bite to it.
It may sound monotonous, but I promise you, it’ll be worth it!
When you’ve used up all your broth, add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
Also, grate up 1 cup of parmesan cheese. Dump it in as well.
Stir things up and let the cheese melt into the rice and the cream absorb a bit, about another minute. You can also add a pinch of salt and pepper before you stir. Not too much salt. You’ll be pretty salty due to the bacon and parmesan.
Spoon your creamy, bacony, mushroomy yumminess into a serving dish.
Lastly, chop up a tablespoon or so of flat leaf parsley. Sprinkle it over the top for some pretty color and garnish.
This is so good. Serve it up with a nice juicy steak and a vegetable for dinner some night. I promise you this.
You won’t have leftovers.
- 7 c. chicken broth
- 8 strips bacon, chopped
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 package cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 T. olive oil (if necessary)
- ¾ c. uncooked arborio rice
- ¾ c. dry white wine (like sauvignon blanc)
- ½ c. heavy cream
- 1 c. parmesan cheese
- ½ t. salt
- ¼ t. pepper
- Heat up chicken broth in separate pot and keep warm on low on stove.
- In large pot, add bacon and add and stir over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp and onion is softened (5-7 minutes).
- Add mushrooms and stir again until mushrooms soften and brown (another 3-4 minutes).
- Add in garlic, stir one minute.
- If bacon grease is completely gone, add a splash of olive to the pan and then add your arborio rice.
- Stir one minute to coat with oil.
- Pour in wine.
- Continue to stir until wine is almost all absorbed.
- Add in one cup of broth at time, stirring in between each cup until almost all absorbed before adding another. (around 20 minute)
- Add in cream and cheese and stir.
- Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
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