Baked Risotto with Bacon and Peas

I saw this recipe in Oprah Magazine last spring when I was killing time in the waiting room at the orthodontist’s office.  Because I am a firm believer in leaving reading material intact for the next lady-in-waiting, I did not swipe the magazine or tear out the article and instead made a note in my phone to look it up again at a later date.  Anyway, it’s taken me approximately seven months to try the recipe, but I promise you, it is a life-changing risotto making technique.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the old ‘stand and stir.’  The prep work here is minimal, the variations are endless (check it out; they offer four great versions) and you won’t have to babysit your pan, which will give you more time to shop online or update your Facebook status.  : )

I’m serving this as a side to this roasted chicken tonight, but it could easily stand alone as a main dish with a big green salad if you were so inclined to serve it that way.

SERVES: 4 to 6

4 strips bacon, chopped (Sendik’s Bacon is featured in the Meat Sale on WEDNESDAY)
1 onion, small dice (medium yellow onions are on sale)
1 1 /2 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine
4 c. chicken broth or water
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. chopped basil, plus additional for garnish
2 to 3 T. unsalted butter
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish

Preheat oven to 400.  Using an oven-safe, straight-sided saucepan or Dutch oven with a lid, cook bacon over medium-high heat.  When cooked through, remove bacon and set aside, reserving fat in pan.  Add onion and cook, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add rice and stir to coat with bacon fat.  Stir in wine and cook until it has evaporated, 1 minute more.  Stir in broth, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.  Cover and bake 20 to 25 minutes, check the risotto.  Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice just cooked.  Stir in peas and basil and return to the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer.

Remove risotto from oven and stir in butter and cheese.  Add reserved bacon, season to taste with salt and pepper, and spoon into shallow bowls.  Shave additional Parmesan over the top and garnish with basil sprigs.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous, News | November 27th, 2012