Bacon Spinach Risotto

In a word – OMG. My only word of advice is to use thin bacon, instead of the thick strips that I had on hand that didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked. This is so decadent and totally egg, dairy, and gluten free (if you use olive oil and leave out the parm at the end)! AND, I also happened upon a bottle of Woop Woop shiraz and it was great. Especially as an everyday wine.

5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (out of homemade stock, I used Pacific organic chicken stock)
1/4 cup of butter
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (honestly, I used three or four, but I’m a garlic girl)
1 1/2 cups of bacon, shredded (I don’t get the cup measurement. I used about six pieces)
2 cups of arborio rice
large pinch of nutmeg
2 tomatoes, chopped (I used heirloom tomatoes from the farmers’ market)
6 ounce of spinach (I used an entire bunch, because I love spinach)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Romano cheese

1. Pour the stock into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat until the stock is gently simmering.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in large skillet and gently fry the onion, garlic, and bacon for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion has softened but not browned and the bacon is sealed. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring all the while, for two minutes until the rice is well cooked and starting to toast.
3. Add a ladleful of the stock to the pan and cook gently until the stock is absorbed. STIR CONTINUOUSLY. Continue to add the stock in small quantities until half of it has been used and the rice is creamy. Season well and add the nutmeg and tomatoes.
4. Continue to add the stock until the risotto becomes thick but not sticky. This should be about 25 minutes.
5. Stir the spinach into the risotto for two to three minutes, then add the cheese at the last moment. Serve and eat immediately.

TIPS:

° Do not wash the rice before you cook it. This eliminates half the starch, and thus half the creaminess.
° Choose a wide-mouthed, large pan to cook the risotto. Don’t make the mistake of using a pan just slightly larger than the recipe, or else you’re going to have rice stuck to your stove and your pants.
° Find an even heat and keep it there the entire time you are cooking. I cooked mine on medium high, and it turned out beautifully. But you know your stove better than any cookbook (or blog author) could. Go by your instinct.
° Stir and stir and stir some more. Slowly. Don’t leave. Don’t wish for it to be over. Don’t complain that your biceps are aching. Throw yourself into it fully. You never know—you just might reach enlightenment by stirring.
° Enjoy with some lovely red wine. Try Woop Woop, for the pure pleasure of the name alone.

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