Bacon and Herb Risotto

I love risotto.  Unfortunately this tasty rice dish has developed the reputation for being time consuming and difficult to make.  It really isn’t. You can serve a basic white risotto as an accompaniment to a saucy dish, dress it up with sophisticated add-ins as a fancy side dish or pair it with a green salad and serve it alone as an entree for a quick weeknight dinner.  Rice is the perfect palliate to build off of and I think all home cooks should have a good risotto recipe in their repertoire.
I no longer use a written recipe when I make my risotto; rather I use a standard formula of liquid to rice and add in whatever ingredients sound good or I have on hand at the time.  For the intimidated or new risotto maker, Maxine Clark’s Risotto is a great primer for learning about the importance of choosing the correct rice (yes, this does make a difference) and the role each component plays in completing the dish.  Her recipes can provide inspiration for flavor combinations to get you started.  I find that homemade broth is best.  Whenever I don’t have the time to make my own (which is usually the case) a low sodium store bought version will work.  Full sodium versions tend to be too salty and you want to be able to taste your ingredients, and not the salt.
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 to 4 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth
6 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs (I used thyme and sage)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1)  Place the bacon in a heavy sauce pan, place over medium high heat and cook until crisp, stirring
2)  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onion and saute until soft, 5-7 minutes.
3)  Add the rice and stir. Cook until the rice is translucent, 1-2 minutes.
4)  Add the wine and cook until absorbed, 1-2 minutes.

5)  Gradually add the hot broth a 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir regularly, but not constantly, until broth is
almost absorbed.  Add broth as needed and continue to cook until rice is al dente–or to your
individual liking.   The risotto should be moist and have some liquids in it since it will continue to
thicken as it sits.  You may not use all of the broth.

6)  Off the heat.  Add the chopped herbs and ground pepper and stir to combine.

7)  Stir in the cheese and stir until it is completely combined and melted.

8)  Serve immediately with more freshly grated cheese as desired.


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2 thoughts on “Bacon and Herb Risotto

  1. Kathy December 13, 2012 at 00:09 Reply

    This looks really good!Kathy

  2. Winnie December 13, 2012 at 03:49 Reply

    This looks delicious. I love risotto, and never had one with bacon…Thank you!

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