bacon, leek, and mushroom risotto

Risotto was one of those dishes that I always ordered when I went out to eat, but never made at home. I never really had a reason for not making it at home, I just didn’t. I finally rectified that, and risotto is now one of my favorite things to make. While it takes awhile to make, the result is a perfect bowl of warmth. It is wonderful to make on a cold night, and because there is wine in the dish, you can enjoy a glass (or two) while you are cooking. After all, you have to test it before you cook with it. Risotto is also a great way to use up any veggies that you have around the house, plus it just seems fancier because it is risotto.

Bacon, Leek, and Mushroom Risotto

This makes 6 good sized portions

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices thick cut bacon // or more, if you tend to munch on bacon while you cook
  • 2 leeks, whites and greens, sliced in half moons
  • 1.5 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6-10 cups chicken stock // The amount of chicken stock needed depends on a whole mess of things. I’m not really sure why sometimes it takes more or less stock to make a perfect risotto
  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil
  • a pinch of nutmeg // This may seem like a weird ingredient, but nutmeg gives creamy dishes just a little bit of something. You can’t really put your finger on what it is, but it is delicous. 
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Turn down the heat so it remains at a simmer.
  2. In a large pot, saute bacon over medium-high heat until it is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease.
  3. Add leeks to the bacon grease and cook until softened. Add mushrooms and cook until glossy. Remove the leeks and mushrooms from the pot using a slotted spoon.
  4. If there is less than 2 tbsp of grease left, add in some olive oil. Add the rice and cook stirring frequently until the edges are slightly translucent, or for about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine, and stir until the wine has been absorbed. This should take about 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add in about 1 to 1 1/2 cup of hot chicken stock. [I use my ladle, which I think is somewhere between 1 to 1 1/2 cup] Stir occasionally until the chicken stock has been absorbed. If you run your spoon through the rice, you should be able to see the bottom of the pot.
  6. Repeat adding stock, and stirring until it is absorbed until the rice is al-dente. This should take 20 to 40 minutes. You don’t want the rice to be soggy or over saturated. If you have any leftover stock, you can refreeze it.
  7. Add the vegetables back to the pot and add one final ladle full of chicken stock. Stir until absorbed.
  8. Remove from heat, add in salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Add in lemon juice. Stir again. Taste for seasonings and adjust. I find that risotto needs a lot more salt that you would think; the rice absorbs a lot of it.
  9. Serve piping hot with a little cheese on top.

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