Bacon and Pea Risotto

Me with Prince Matt

First off, let me just tell you about Matty:

My husband is a picky little prince.  When I first met him, he was one of those people who would eat only california rolls in a sushi restaurant, a grown man who never ate a salad unless it was made of cheese, a person who would physically and violently shiver at the thought of a tomato… He didn’t even drink wine, people.  (The fact that we even made it past the second date is a testament to his… well, never mind.)  He’s come a long way in ten years.  Now, he’ll try anything once, and even though a lot of those still get put on the never-again list, sometimes he falls head over heels for something new.

Like risotto.  I got Matty on the risotto train about two years ago, and because he now asks for it at least once a week, I’ve learned to make it fifty different ways.  It’s so easy, so tasty, and impressive enough to entertain with.  And once you get the hang of the method, you can throw in your favorites just like we do.  Since Matt’s nickname is Bacon Boy, I’ve decided to share my bacon and pea risotto recipe.  Here goes:

INGREDIENTS:

One quart (four cups) of chicken stock, preferably organic and low-sodium so you can control the salt

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup of white wine (something you’d actually drink, please.  No “cooking wine”.  That stuff’s foul.)

1 and a half cups arborio rice

3 strips of bacon, chopped

a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

half a cup of frozen peas

2 tbsp mascarpone cheese

half a cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano

salt and pepper

WHAT TO DO:

In a sauce pot, heat your chicken stock over medium heat so it’s warm enough when it comes time to add it to the risotto.

In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until crisp, then remove it from the pan and reserve.  Drain off all but about a tablespoon of the fat and oil.  Add the onion and then the garlic, seasoning with a little salt and pepper.  Add the cherry tomatoes.  Saute for a few minutes until the onion starts to look translucent, and then add the rice.  Toast it for a few minutes until it starts to smell nutty and yummy, and then add the wine (drink the rest of the bottle).  Turn the heat up to medium-high now, stirring until all the wine has been soaked up by the rice.  Add a ladle full of chicken stock, keeping your eye on the risotto and stirring every couple of minutes.  All that stirring will pay off and give you a nice and creamy risotto, plus nice arm muscles.

Once the liquid has been soaked up, stir in another ladle of stock.  Once that liquid’s gone, add another ladle of stock.  Keep it up until all of your stock is gone.  Give it a taste and see if it’s still too al dente– risotto’s are a little temperamental, and depending on your heat and the rice you’re using, a quart of chicken stock may or may not be enough.  If it’s still too firm and crunchy, just add a cup of water and stir that in, no big deal.  Once it tastes like it’s done (it should have the consistency and texture of creamy cooked rice, not too mushy but not too al dente), then add your peas.  Stir those in for a couple of minutes, and then turn off the heat.  Add the mascarpone and parmigiano reggiano, and then stir in the reserved bacon.

Wasn’t that easy?  Aren’t you impressed with yourself?  You’re drunk from that bottle of wine, aren’t you?

SERVES 4, or 2 Matty’s

Risotto, Stage 2
The finished product, with balsamic-glazed pan fried tilapia and oven roasted green beans. Happy opu indeed.

33 Comments Add yours

  1. Emily says:

    My stomach is growling already! Looks like I’ll be picking up some risotto and a few bottles of wine (what? it takes at least two to make it… right?) for dinner tonight. Thanks!

  2. AliciaMc says:

    The risotto looks amazing but I’m curious as to how you cooked the fish… I love tilapia but I’ve only ever cooked it in the oven or pan fried with a bit of flour on it for crispiness; any chance we can get the recipe/tutorial for cooking that? 🙂

  3. Dave says:

    That sounds amazing, always been a bit intimidated by making a risotto but I reckon I’ll be giving that a shot this week!

  4. Chenko says:

    Thanks, Jewel. As I said in your twitter, I love the risotto. I was so easy in my house, thinking on going to sleep… but your post has given me hungry.

    What’s the arborio rice? I think I don’t know it.

    Sorry if my english is too bad. I’m from Spain! Kisses!

  5. Amber West says:

    If you are a fan of risotto, it’s a great way to make a stove top rice pudding.

    2 3/4 c whole milk
    1 T butter
    2-3 T sugar
    1/4 c arborio rice
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    3 T Heavy Cream
    Cinnamon, nuts or dried fruit optional to your taste

    Melt the butter and sugar together, slide the rice around in that business and then the same method you would use making the savory stuff except for milk in the place of your broth. And you get drunk on a nice ice wine instead. Or, you know, whatever you happen to have uncorked at the time.

    Finish it off with as much of the cream as you feel you can get away with without stressing about it in tomorrow’s pilates class.

    It’s awesomeness.

    (Also, love love love your blog.)

  6. Ami says:

    Looks super yummy!

  7. Nancy says:

    That has the magic word, bacon, in it. I’ve made risotto before but ended up eating it all myself. With bacon, I might get more people eating with me.

  8. Dani says:

    I do something similar but I used asparagus. It is both tasty and delicious. I will have to try adding in wine too.

  9. Lane says:

    I love this blog so much! Between you and JulieAnneRhodes.com, I might actually learn how to cook.

  10. Mikaylah says:

    I love all your little side comments. Lol. You seem like you’re a fun cook! I’ve never tried to make risotto, but I may need to try this… 🙂

  11. Diane says:

    I adore risotto. Springtime – add peas, cooked salmon and spinach, plus the cheeses – yum. As you said, add any of your favorites.

    (although I will admit that I will happily eat it with just a good handful of the cheese!)

  12. badengineer says:

    Risotto is one of my favorites. This recipe reminds me of one of my better experiments: hawaiian pizza risotto. Vegetable stock with tomato soup or juice in it, chunks of baked ham, and pineapple. Cook it just about like above but leave out bacon and peas and there you have it. Tastes way better than it sounds.

  13. Illexius says:

    I actually do find it a little intimidating, but I just love risotto. I also love bacon. I shall be trying this recipe as soon as possible. Perhaps with a nice, barely seared, tuna steak to go with it. Thanks for sharing.

    (Also, Matt looks a little like Paul McGillion in that picture.)

  14. Kitten says:

    Yum. I make a quinoa goat cheese risotto that’s similar (but sub in wilted spinach and goat cheese for tomatoes, peas and mascarpone) but my kids don’t like the texture of the quinoa. Trying this one next.

  15. Rachael says:

    Looks great! I have a rice sensitivity so I only reserve eating rice for sushi and a small risotto. My boyfriend is like your husband – picky, picky, picky – and what a surprise, tomato is also his personal food Satan! He’ll try most things once as well, though, so I am hoping to work miracles as you have with your other half. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Tallulah says:

    Excellent. Risotto has always been a staple in my house.
    Yum with brown rice too.
    I love having this nice healthy rice and veggie type thing in front of me, then stirring through craploads of butter and cheese and it becomes completely awesome.

    On Masterchef Australia I saw, they made it in like a non-stick pan, and never stirred it; they ‘agitated’ it by shaking the pan; made it creamy, but not at all gluggy, which risotto has the tendancy to do.

    …now feel like making risotto. Helluva more fun than econometrics homework, anyway…

  17. Molly Price says:

    THAT LOOKS AMAZING.

    If you’re looking for more risotto recipes, I’ve got one that I call “Hobbit Risotto.” It’s got bacon and mushrooms, and it’s basically the best ever.

    http://mollyblogsbaltimore.blogspot.com/2011/04/recipe-hobbit-risotto.html

  18. Jen says:

    That sounds fab. I usually just make asparagus and parm risotto. I still have some our of homemade bacon in the freezer so I’ll have to give this a whirl.

    http://www.littlehomesteadinthevalley.blogspot.com

  19. Heather Jackson says:

    Wow, that looks awesome! I am a huge risotto fan myself.

    Btw, if you are ever in Baltimore, there is this crazy little bar-restaurant that has more than a dozen types of risotto, plus a special on each week. Never seen so many risotto options in one place, and all the ones I’ve tried so far have been amazing: http://www.joesquared.com/menu2/

  20. AJ says:

    I know someone who is at least as picky as Matt was. Makes choosing a restaurant tough.
    Anyway, it’s been a long time since I had risotto last. I don’t know why I haven’t made it yet, I’ve made other things that require that kind of attention. Judging from the ingredients, the recipe sounds good (seriously, you ought to start compiling a book).

  21. azdisciplenc says:

    How much has reading this blog warped my brain?
    Well, while watching the Firefly episode “Out of Gas” this morning, when Kaylee brought out the shaped protein birthday cake, I scoffed at my TV and said, “Yeah, whatever, she could make something WAY better than that,” without even thinking about it.
    Also, if your olive oil drinking game is in permanent effect… well, this post brings about two drinks.

  22. gm41970 says:

    Thanks for sharing recipe! Agree with AliciaMc; would love to see the tilapia recipe.

  23. slamaina says:

    Yummy! I am going to try this soon, after a trip to the market to buy bacon. Maybe I’ll try it with diced ham.

    If Matty is Mr. Bacon, you have to try Bacon Salt http://www.baconsalt.com/ . We got it as a gag gift originally but loved it. We have tried about 3/4 of the flavors and liked them all.

    Slam

  24. Funny, your husband sounds a lot like mine! 10 years ago, he despised all things Asian and today asks for Chinese and Thai. This also sounds like a recipe he would love, so I’ll have to give it a try!
    Rosalind
    Girls Are Geeks

  25. wagdog says:

    I’ve actually never had risotto so now it’s on my ‘must have’ list. Major drool!

    p.s. I’d like to see one of Matt’s recipes some day.

  26. Colin K. says:

    Sounds absolutely delicious!!!! I’ll try to make this when I have time.

    Thanks for all your recipes!

    Your biggest fan :p

  27. Landerolin says:

    “a grown man who never ate a salad unless it was made of cheese, a person who would physically and violently shiver at the thought of a tomato…”

    Sounds to me like he was only paying appropriate heed to his Scottish heritage!

    A nice sounding recipie, though I’m not a fan of risotto due to the very consisency of the rice you describe. Looking forward to more of the same ilk.

  28. I want to go to there. Preferably today. Too bad the risotto making process intimidates (terrifies) me. 🙁

  29. Mike M says:

    I made this without the tomatoes or peas, and it was the best risotto I’ve ever had!

    (OK, I made risotto one other time, but it was pretty good too!)

  30. keikomushi says:

    That looks scrumptious! If I had the ingredients sitting in the pantry and fridge, I’d be cooking it right now. 🙁 On another note, your hubby’s hair is taking on a Goku-esque appeal. 😀

  31. Gregor K says:

    Cooked it for my wife and a friend today (my first risotto ever iirc), we all liked it very much. Great recipe!

  32. Amelia says:

    Just made this today and it was fantastic!

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