Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach

Considering I don't like rice much, although I've grown to like it more over the years, I really enjoy risotto. Maybe it's the creamy, soft texture, or the magic that happens after you put the salty cheese in at the end. Hmm, I don't know, but it sure is good.

Risotto can pretty much be tailored to any season of the year by what ingredients you add to it. Fresh ingredients, in season, are the best. I love that it is so versatile and turns out wonderful each time.

This risotto is perfect for fall. I love the combination of the three mushrooms but if you can only find a couple of them, it is still sure to turn out for you. Finding dried mushrooms might be an option for those that are hard to find. I could only find dried shiitakes in the Asian section at my grocery store and just reconstituted them before adding them to the risotto.

Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach
4 cups chicken stock
6 bacon slices, cut into about 1-inch pieces
1 cup finely diced shallots
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped (dried is ok too)
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 oz. oyster mushrooms, sliced
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other medium/short-grain rice
1/3 cup sherry cooking wine
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated fresh Asiago cheese (can substitute Parmesan)
1/2 tsp.salt
1/4 tsp.freshly ground black pepper

Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a small saucepan, without boiling; keep warm over low heat.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon to pan; cook 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Add shallots, oil, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes or until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms to the onions and cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add rice and cook 1 minute until it turns slightly opaque; stir constantly. Stir in cooking wine and cook a minute or two, or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

Stir in 1 cup stock, cooking until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Taste for doneness of the rice near the end of cooking; it may be done before you've used all the stock. Do not add the rest or the rice will become too mushy.

Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and bacon. Check for seasoning and then add salt and pepper to taste.

SOURCE: Adapted from Cooking Light

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