My favorite recipes are the easy ones that come out not only looking amazing, but tasting like they were the most challenging culinary experience ever. For me, Risotto is one of them, and while I use the word “easy” to describe the process, I must take a step back and remember the first time I ever attempted to make it. It was two years ago, and I was cooking for my bf who had not yet tried my home cooked meals. I decided it was time he did, and due to pure excitement and the desire to impress him, I went “all out” and tried something new… Risotto (smart idea Jess).
I had seen it done before and thought “how hard could it be”? Needless to say I was so wrapped up in his presence that my risotto ended up being very neglected, and if you’ve made risotto before, you know that it requires a ton of attention. The result? It burned… badly, and my bf the super nice guy he is, ate it all up. He even managed to let out a “mmm” despite his looks of disgust. While that was a very bad first impression of my culinary skills, I have been able redeemed myself over the years, and my bf now knows that, that was not a good example of my cooking abilities. I was determined to get it right, and once I realized that the main secret to making sure risotto is a success, and not a burned mess, is patience, I mastered it. What I love most about it, is that it has as many varieties as your imagination can come up with, and it can be treated as a nice side dish, or a main course. So versatile!
This week, I made Risotto with Asparagus, mushrooms, bacon and goat cheese. Why? Because that’s what I already had in my fridge… how easy is that?!
I started by cooking my bacon, you can either do this in a pan or if you want to be a little healthier, lay the slices on a baking sheet and cook them in the oven! I then sautéed some onions until they were translucent, added some asparagus, and finally the mushrooms. Tossed in the bacon and set it aside in a bowl.
Then came the risotto, in a separate saucepan, I prepared 8 cups of chicken stock. Vegetable stock works too if you want to eliminate meat! In the same saucepan that was used for the bacon as well as the saute, I heated up a tablespoon of oil with tablespoon of unsalted butter and fried up the uncooked grains of rice until they were well coated and they became almost opaque. At this point I spooned in about a cup of stock, constantly stirring until absorbed, I repeated this process for about 20 minutes. Once absorbed and fully cooked, I added in a cup of parmesan cheese and about 2 tablespoons of goat cheese for richness. then I tossed in the sauteed mixture and let the whole thing stand and cool for a few minutes before serving. It was decadent, creamy and delicious and the crispy bacon added a nice crunch.
Asparagus, Mushroom and Bacon Risotto with Goat Cheese
Makes 6 first- course or 4- main course meals
8 cups of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
about 1 cup of minced onions
about 1 1/2 cups of chopped asparagus
about 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
about 5 slices of bacon
2 cups of Arborio Rice or other risotto rice
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of goat cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
1. Cook bacon and set aside, once cooled roughly chop it.
2. Put a little bit of olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions until translucent, add in the asparagus until tender and finally the mushrooms, add salt and pepper to taste, toss in the roughly chopped bacon and set the whole mixture aside in a separate bowl.
3. Pour the chicken broth into a saucepan, heat and maintain at a low simmer.
4. Using the same saucepan used for the bacon and the saute, heat the olive oil and butter over medium- low heat
5. Add the 2 cups of rice and continue to stir until each grain is coated in the oil and butter, and is almost entirely opaque.
5. Start stirring in the broth 1 cup at a time, waiting until each cup is fully absorbed before adding more. Stir the risotto continuously maintaining a low simmer. When approximately 6 cups have been absorbed into the mixture begin adding about 1/2 a cup at a time and start tasting the rice for tenderness. Take the risotto off the heat when the rice is al-dente (tender with a little bite)
6. Gently incorporate into the mixture, the parmesan and goat cheese.
7. Fold in the sauteed mixture.
8. Season with salt and pepper.
9. ENJOY and Impress your friends and family!