Mushroom+Bacon Risotto

Melt butter in a pan, and add chopped bacon. When the bacon is browned; add risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli), and fry until just starting to brown.

Deglaze the pan with a couple of glugs of vermouth; then add finely diced onion and saute until translucent.

If there is still fond on the pan (uh.. brown bits), use some chicken stock to deglaze further. Then, add enough chicken stock to just cover the rice.

When the stock has evaporated off; cover the rice with stock again.

This time, when the stock evaporates, add sliced mushrooms; and again, cover the rice with stock.

When the stock evaporates this time; the risotto is probably ready. Sample a grain of rice, and if it tastes about right; stir in grated parmesan cheese and serve. Otherwise, continue adding and cooking off more stock until it’s finished.

Asparagus Risotto

This is just a fairly standard sort of risotto. I trimmed the asparagus tips off for garnishing, and chopped the stems thinly. I finely chopped the zest of a lemon, and set aside the lemon juice for deglazing. As an underlying flavour base, I used 4-5 shallots diced finely.

I blanched the asparagus stems in water, and once they were finished; cooled the water down with a block of frozen chicken stock from the freezer.

In the main pan, I heated some garlic infused olive oil; and added the lemon zest. Once that was fragrant, I added the shallots. When the shallots softened, I added four small handfulls of risotto rice to the pan; which I gently fried until it started to get a little colour. At this stage, I deglazed the pan with the lemon juice. Once the lemon juice evaporated, I started to incorporate the chicken stock. When the risotto was about half complete; I added the asparagus stems to the pan, and moved the asparagus tips into the stock to warm through.

Once the risotto finished; I put it into a couple of bowls, and topped it with freshly grated parmesan and the asparagus tips.

Next time around, I’m going to pass on blanching the asparagus – the idea behind that was to get some asparagus flavour into the chicken stock. It didn’t make that much difference flavourwise, and it was a bit brutal texture-wise.

“Black Risotto”

At least, the plan was for black risotto. Instead of using the usual Arborio or Carnaroli, I went with Black Glutinous rice. What resulted was a sweet, slightly crunchy risotto; with a deep burgandy colour. This time around, I flavoured the risotto with chicken.

Black Risotto (serves 2)
1 small red onion, diced finely
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 chicken thighs, diced
1 shot glass of cointreau
2 handfuls of black glutinous rice
1 cup homemade chicken stock (In my case, it’s much richer than store bought; so I dilute it)
3 cups water (aproximately)

Sweat the onion and garlic until aromatic; then add in the chicken. Saute until the chicken browns a little. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is glossy. Carefully add the cointreau, and stir until it evaporates. Lower the temperature, and add about a cup of stock+water. When that addition of liquid has been absorbed; add another cup of liquid. Repeat this step until the rice is tender.