|Caramelized Onion Risotto with Bacon|
Have I backed myself into a corner?
The morning I prepared this dish, I noted on my facebook timeline that I was trying to adapt this risotto to the standards appropriate for this publication. My foodie friends inquired: Heidi of Young Grasshopper asked, how could it NOT be blog worthy? Willow of Will Cook for Friends suggested perhaps you could fancy it up by serving it with something else more blog-worthy? I've actually profiled three other risottos in the past and am pretty familiar with the concept, so I needed to find a way to try something new.
I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I've seen seasoned chefs fail at this dish on popular TV shows. (Jyll of the seventh season of The Next Food Network Star, Tre on season 8 of Top Chef, in addition to countless victims...uh, I mean, contestants on Hell's Kitchen come to mind off the top of my head.)
I've been craving risotto over the past few weeks and my wife is trying to get her own food blog started and noted she wanted to learn how, so she bought some arborio rice over this past weekend.
As I was looking through risotto possibilities waiting for a revelation, I noticed a lot of risottos with bacon. This recipe caught my eye because it combined a one of my wife's favorite ingredients of one of my first success as a food blogger: a Barbecued Tri-Tip with Caramelized Red Onions with bacon.
Successfully fuse American flavors into an Italian dish while using a slightly altered risotto method.
A risotto normally starts out by sweating onions or shallots, adding the rice to toast, deglazing with white wine, before adding the stock and finishing with parmesan and butter. This recipe from Food & Wine Magazine alters this process slightly.
1/2 pound thickly sliced meaty bacon (approximately 8 slices)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then crumble.
2. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the onions to a plate. Rinse out the saucepan.
3. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and keep hot over low heat. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add enough hot stock to cover the rice, about 1 1/2 cups, and stir constantly over moderate heat until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 1 1/2 cups at a time, and cook, stirring, until it has been completely absorbed before adding more. The rice is done when the grains are just tender and the sauce is creamy, about 20 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the onions, bacon, thyme and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls and serve with additional Parmesan.
No, I haven't backed myself into a corner. My wife enjoyed the flavors of the dish because there was nothing left on her plate, however the risotto was a little too stiff for my taste but strangely, still creamy.