I'm Back! Things are finally calming down some from an insanely busy year of work and school...so the blog is back! I'm very appreciative of all of you who expressed interest that I bring it back sooner than now. Thanks for your support and love...I hope you enjoy the new posts!
Last night my facebook status let folks know I was making this for dinner. Lots of you asked for the recipe. At the end of the post, I've made a vegetarian suggestion to dress up the risotto without bacon, although I haven't field tested it myself.
The Green Apple Risotto is something I've been making for years (adapted a bit) from a Mario Batali recipe. For whatever reason, I hadn't made risotto for Matt yet (he still loves most everything I make, and just in case he had texture issues with risotto as some people do, I didn't want to risk it). A week ago I made him a saffron and shrimp risotto, and he was hooked. Thank God!
Matt also loves bacon (if you eat pork, who doesn't?). Since pork and apples are such a classic pair, I thought it would work. And it does wonderfully....the risotto has a rich mouthfeel, but a light taste, and then the contrasting bacon adds a crunchy, meaty saltiness.
Here's the recipe as the main dish for two.
Cook 6 slices of bacon. Crumble. Set Aside.
In a large skillet or wide-bottom saucier melt/heat: 1 TBS Olive Oil, I TBS Unsalted Butter.
Add, cook until softened: Red Onion, half a medium one, finely chopped.
Add and toast/cook for a few minutes: 3/4 cup Arborio Rice, 1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored,and sliced 1/8" thick.
Add and cook until absorbed/evaporated: 1/2 cup Dry White Wine (last night I used Black Box Pinot Grigio).
So here's what lots of people think of as the "scary" part about risotto. Honestly, it is what I love. You have to stay at the stove for about a half hour. It is the same reason I like ironing. You cannot do anything else. Other than maybe having a phone conversation or listening to the Red Sox make stupid mistakes and fall behind, you can't really multi-task while making risotto.
You will need about about 4 cups of Broth or Stock. I use homemade stock that has very little salt in it. If you do not have any homemade stock, use a low sodium broth, or better yet a 3 parts low sodium broth 1 part water mix. For store-bought broths I like the Imagine brand (low sodium vegetable broth) or Swansons (low sodium chicken).
So, while you were prepping and beginning to cook the risotto, bring the stock to a simmer in a separate pot, and keep warm over a very low heat. After you have cooked off the wine, start adding ladles of the stock. Add enough stock to just cover rice. Cook over medium-high heat and stir constantly. When stock has been almost completely absorbed, add another ladle or two of stock. Continue process until rice is creamy, but individual grains are al dente. This will take about 25-35 minutes, less if you like your rice to have more of a bite. I prefer this risotto the Venetian way: all'onda, which means wavy. The rice is still a little moist and appears like waves in the dish, as opposed to the Milanese way, which is a tighter, more compact dish. Try it both ways and see which you like!
So, once you have your risotto at your preferred level of doneness,turn off the heat and stir in: 1 TBS butter, 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano, and a couple TBS of finely chopped parsley
Mound the risotto onto warmed plates and sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top. Enjoy the silky, slightly sweet, but definitely savory rice, and the crunchy salty gift from heaven that is bacon.
For my vegetarian friends, use vegetable broth and some chopped pecans. I think pecans are an equally classic pairing with apples. If you try it, let me know how it comes out!