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Monday, February 28, 2011

Risotto with caramelized onions, artichokes and bacon

We already ranted about how much we love caramelized onions and how much we love risotto. About artichokes we haven't ranted yet, but that's just about to begin. Thus, a couple of nights ago, this dinner choice was the next logical step of our adventures in Flavorland :).
Because of the caramelized onions, the process of cooking differs slightly from a classic risotto making, but all is for the best. The bacon gives the overall flavor even more smoky depth, the extra Parmesan makes it yummy and fluid, while the artichokes give a tangy sour and fresh contrast to the rest. Enjoy :)
Note: If you want to keep it vegetarian, the bacon can be removed and the chicken broth replaced with a vegetable one. A spicy version of vegetable stock here.  

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
  • 400 g rice (round-grained - arborio rice - is preferred)
  • 1 liter of chicken broth
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 garlic head
  • 500 ml dry white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 200 g grated Parmesan
  • 200 g bacon
  • 200 g artichoke hearts from the jar

First, put the olive oil in a large pan and heat it:

Add the roughly chopped onions and fry them gently:

Also add the sliced garlic cloves. After the onions get caramelized, remove them, keeping the oil in the pan.
Add the rice (don't pre-wash it) and fry it, stirring all the time, until it becomes lightly golden and translucent around the edges(5-10 minutes):

Add half of the wine (at room temperature or even pre-heated) and stir until it evaporates or gets absorbed:

Add the other half of the wine and stir until it disappears too. Add 1/4 of the chicken broth and stir it away as well:

After it gets absorbed, continue adding 250 ml at a time until all the broth is absorbed. Don't forget to stir almost continuously. In a separate pan, fry the bacon in separate batches so the strips don't stick to eachother:

When the bacon is fried, cut it in smaller pieces. Also drain and cut the artichoke hearts in halves or thirds. When the last cup of chicken broth was absorbed by the rice, add the caramelized onions, bacon (with all its oil) and Parmesan to it:

Stir very well to coat everything in cheese and top it with the artichoke hearts:

It's ready. Best served warm, so dig in! :)

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