Risotto is a dish we eat fairly often – because as a rice-based meal it’s fairly inexpensive. It’s also very flexible and you can add all kinds of things to it. One of our favorite ways to make risotto is with bacon, corn and bella mushrooms – which we add liberally so our risotto is a pretty “chunky” variety.
Risotto is made from Arborio rice, which can be kinda spendy if you buy it in the packaged containers at your typical grocery store. But buy it in bulk at Winco or a food co-op and you’ll probably save as much as 50% off the per pound price. I need to check and see if Costco has it, and I understand Winco has it in their bulk section, too. Look for it with the rices.
This is a recipe my husband uses when he makes risotto. He’s the designated risotto maker in the house and he has pretty much mastered it, in my humble opinion. The ingredients you add are really pretty flexible – you could do shrimp, peas, scallops, asparagus, steak – be creative!
- Arborio rice, about 1.5 cups
- Chicken broth, 32 ounces (or vegetable broth)
- Bacon, one 10-12 oz package
- Celery, 6 or 7 stalks, diced
- Corn, about 1 cup
- Mushrooms, baby bella, about 12 ounces
- Onion, 1-2 onions, diced small
- Parmesan cheese, about ½ cup, shredded - Don’t leave this out – it’s what makes it creamy.
- White cooking wine, about ½ cup - Could leave this out if you preferred.
- Garlic, whole clove, minced
- Dried basil, about a teaspoon
- Dried thyme, about a teaspoon
- Olive oil, about a tablespoon
- Optional: fresh lemon zest (from the peel of a lemon) – seems to complement it and add a fresh flavor
- In a sauce pan, pour in chicken stock and bring it to a boil then quickly bring to a simmer.
- In another pan, add dice bacon and cook it up. Set aside. Layout on paper towels to absorb some of the grease.
- In a large saute pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil (or some bacon grease!) and throw in the onions. Cook onions down for about five minutes and then add diced celery. After two or three minutes add mushrooms. Saute it all together with the garlic.
- Once your onions, celery and mushrooms are starting to look like they are cooked down. Add your arborio rice and begin stirring. Don’t stop. Stir until arborio gets a nice light golden color (not burned!) – about five minutes.
- Then pour in white wine to deglaze the pan, keep stirring. Just keep stirring. Then nearly immediately afterward, ladle in simmering chicken stock about a cup at a time – don’t add another cup until the first cup has absorbed. Keep stirring. This process is the most important part in making risotto – add the stock slowly and keep the mixture simmering and moving.
- After a couple ladles of chicken stock you can throw in corn, peas or lemon zest, if you are including those. Keep adding stock until the rice seems soft, but a little al dente. It should take about 10-15 minutes of adding stock and stirring rice while it simmers.
- After rice has softened and stock is absorbed, add basil, thyme and parmesan cheese – until melted and incorporated into dish.
Have you made risotto before? Do you have favorite ingredients? I’d love your tips or ideas!