Blog posts, Cheese, Italian Food, Recipes, wine, Wine and Food Pairing

Asparagus, Bacon, and Mushroom Risotto

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb of lower sodium bacon lardons
  • 1lb of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and diced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cleaned and woody stem/parts removed, diced on the bias
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice, rinsed clean
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup of a favorite dry white wine, I like a good Pinot Grigio (that I then enjoy with the risotto)*
  • 1 medium sized shallot, minced
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced or in paste form (more is fine if you like)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 1/2 cups of warm chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of fresh grated Grana Padano
  • 1 cup fresh grated Asiago
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan for garnish
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
  • Lemon zest of one medium lemon
    • *If you do not want to use wine, go with at least 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

In a cold and deep sauté pan, add olive oil and spread bacon lardons throughout the pan, evenly. On a low-medium heat, slowly render the bacon until just cooked with a slight crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, retaining the oil and bacon grease. Add in the shallot, and sauté on the same heat until the shallot begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the Arborio rice, stirring and coating the rice with the oil. Continue to sauté the rice until the edges turn translucent, leaving a small white dot in the rice kernel. Add garlic, constantly stirring to avoid burning the garlic, for about 2 minutes more. Increase the heat to medium-high for about 30 seconds, then use the wine* to deglaze the pan, allowing the alcohol to cook off (you should no longer be able to “smell” the alcohol) which will take a few minutes.

Once the wine has cooked off and been absorbed, begin to ladle in the chicken broth one cup at a time or enough warm broth to just cover the rice. Continuously stirring, allow the rice to soak up the broth. Once the rice is clearly no longer covered in broth, again ladle in another cup or more to once again cover the rice. Continue this process until the rice has soaked up the broth and is just al dente. Add the last cup of broth, the bacon, asparagus, and butter. Stir and cover, reducing the temperature to medium-low for 4-5 minutes, or until the asparagus turns bright green.

Removing the lid, add in cream and stir. Add in the cheeses, stirring until they melt. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and parsley, stirring gently. Dish out a serving as a main course or as a side dish, perhaps with grilled or roasted lemon chicken. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Grigio.

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