Autumn takes another step forward with temps dropping from the 60’s to the 50’s, with wind and rain. I want a hot meal, I do not want to spend a lot of time sorting one out, and I have things in the fridge that need to be used.
Poking around the pantry, I find some arborio rice, so I have a good base, now flavor, In the fridge I find a half pound of bacon, and some left over chicken stock, and part of a bag of frozen peas, this sounds like a risotto to me.
I’ll serve this with a salad, and a couple of glasses of white wine, and watch the rain outside.
Risotto, from riso meaning “rice”) is a northern Italian rice dish cooked with broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetables. Many types of risotto contain butter, onion, white wine, and parmesan cheese. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.
There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, cooked in a standard procedure. Risotto, unlike other rice dishes, requires constant care and attention. The rice is not to be pre-rinsed, boiled, or drained, as washing would remove much of the starch required for a creamy texture.
The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil, to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white wine is added and must be absorbed by the grains. When it has been absorbed the heat is raised to medium high, and boiling stock is gradually added in small amounts, while stirring constantly. The constant stirring, with only a small amount of liquid present, forces the grains to rub against each other and release the starch from the outside of the grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured mass. When the rice is cooked the pot is taken off the heat for mantecatura, vigorously beating in refrigerated balls of grated parmesan cheese and butter, to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier and left to cook with its residual heat.
Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy even if no cream is added, due to the starch in the grains. It has some resistance or bite (al dente) and separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. It must be eaten at once, as it continues to cook in its own heat, making the grains absorb all the liquid and become soft and dry.
I will take the lazy man’s method and not follow all those steps, but I am sure I’ll have a decent result.
- 1 ea Yellow Onion Peeled, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 6 slices Bacon Thick cut, slice to 1/2"
- 1 cup Rice Arborio
- 6 cup Chicken Stock Unsalted
- 1 cup Frozen Peas
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add oil and butter
- When the butter foams out, add onion and fry until it just takes color (5-7 Minutes)
- Add bacon and fry until crisp, (4-5 minutes)
- Add garlic and stir until fragrant (60 sec)
- add rice and stir fry until translucent, (1-2 minutes)
- Add stock, bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat and cook covered, until rice is almost tender (15-20 minutes)
- Add peas and cook until peas are cooked, (~3 minutes)
- Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. Adjust Cheese and additional butter for consistency
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