I’m going to let you in on a little secret, my darlings: I love Italian food. Like, insanely crave and need it. A lot.
….Okay, maybe that isn’t such a secret.
But I have this weird thing about risotto. Don’t get me wrong – I love me a big fat bowl of the stuff. I’ve never been known to turn down a bowl of cheeey, carby fantasticalness. Ever. Which is probably why I can’t fit into my swimming shorts like I used to. That being said, I have this weird thing about risotto.
When imagining flavor combinations for the stuff I always go, “yeah. but it’s just/still risotto”. Like, despite what I throw in it, it’s still just creamy* rice.
But I don’t blink an eye when coming up with pasta renditions. Or polenta. Or even sandwiches. Yet they’re still just noodles. Or cornmeal. Or bread. So what’s with my reluctance when it comes to the ‘rizzo? It’s funny how our synapses associate certain ideas with certain feelings and certain foods and certain life experiences.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I am unfairly biased against risotto and it’s potential to wow my taste-buds whilst I grant other carbo-based dishes perhaps more of their fair share of leniency with respect to originality.
….I think I’m thinking this through too much. It’s rice. Right. Just eat.
To prove myself wrong I made an apple, walnut, bacon risotto for dinner last night. And it was nothing at all like my recipe for truffled wild mushroom risotto. Except that it was spectacularly awesome. Especially right now when apples are at their peak.
Note to self – you need to be more open minded about risotto. Especially Apple Walnut Risotto… with bacon.
Apple Walnut Risotto (with Bacon!)
Yield 6 servings
- 1 Large Granny Smith Apple, cored, diced and tossed in a little lemon water.
- 1 Small Head Radicchio Lettuce, roughly chopped (sub Endive).
- Handful of Toasted Walnuts.
- 4 Strips of Bacon, cooked and roughly chopped (optional).
- 2 Shallots, thinly sliced.
- 2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced.
- 3Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
- 1 Sprig of Fresh Rosemary.
- 1.5 Cups Arborio Rice.
- 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine.
- 5-6 Cups Chicken or Veggie Stock, well heated.
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated.
- On a low heat, melt 2 Tbsp of butter in large pan and add shallots and garlic, covering with lid. Allow 5-10 mins to become translucent.Add rice and sprig of rosemary, stirring until grains become slightly clear and golden on the outside, approximately 2 mins.
- Gently pour in the wine, stir well, and allow for absorption by the rice and evaporation of the alcohol.Next ladle in enough stock to just cover the rice mixture and allow for a low simmer, stirring fairly regularly to avoid burning and encourage creaminess. Continue adding further ladles of broth as it gets absorbed, again only as much as is needed to cover the rice.
- This will continue for roughly 30mins, or until rice mixture is creamy and has reached the desired texture. You want it to be soft but still hold it's texture and not be mushy.
- Once it has reached the desired texture, dump in the apple pieces, bacon, radicchio, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and about a Tbsp of butter. Fold well.
- Serve....and... Eat!
*I’ve heard from a few different people that risotto should never have cream added to it. That the rice itself, if massaged and loved correctly will be creamy all on its own. Cream = bastardizing the dish. What do you think?