A Comforting Dish

Sunday, 29 January 2012
I've been spending more time at home hitting the books and working to wrap up research studies and papers. For me, it is nice to take short breaks and whip up something tasty to provide sustenance to keep up energy for work.

When you have great ingredients on hand (I always have yellow onions, garlic, olive oil, canned, diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, pasta, couscous, risotto and rice in the pantry), cooking is easy especially when you experiment and it turns out to be delicious.

While digging through the pantry last night, I found a half-full bag of excellent risotto. Some people tend to shy away from cooking dry risotto because it takes a few steps but wow. It is actually simple to make if you have a bit of patience.

Smoked Pork Parmesan Risotto

1/2 large, yellow onion, chopped
5 smashed and chopped garlic cloves (use less if you don't like a strong taste of garlic)
2 cups fat-free chicken stock (I use low-sodium because the pork is salty)
T butter
Fresh Parmesan for grating
8 oz risotto
1/3 pack of good quality, smoked bacon
Fresh cracked pepper
Salt to season
3 T olive oil

Start with olive oil in a saute pan, heat the oil. Chop the onion and garlic and add to oil. This should be over medium heat and be careful to not let the onions or garlic get too hot (burn). The onions will be almost clear after sautéing for approximately five minutes.

While sautéing, heat chicken stock to a boil.

Add risotto to onion, garlic and oil. Sautee for 1-2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Now it's time to start adding chicken stock. I add about 3/4 cup at a time. Stir and monitor risotto until the stock is absorbed. Add more stock, keep stirring, and wait for risotto to absorb the liquid. Continue this process until all chicken stock (2c) is absorbed by the risotto.

Note: lower heat (touch less than medium) is better for the risotto. The absorption process and proper timing is what allows the risotto to soften nicely.

While risotto is cooking, place bacon on two paper towels on a plate, cover with a paper towel and microwave for approx 3 minutes or until bacon is cooked. (I don't like crispy in the risotto so take it out before it gets too stiff or whatever you prefer.)

Tear the meat into small pieces, add to risotto, add butter and cheese, stir. Serve with fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste. Fresh herbs over the top such as Rosemary or Oregano would add to this dish but my plants are outside and sleeping for the winter.

Enjoy! La Crema Chardonnay would be nice with this dish. (The risotto is also just fine served left-over. Just add a teaspoon of water, cover with a paper towel and microwave for two minutes or less.)


LizP said...

Yum, I love risotto! For the first shot of liquid on the rice, I do white wine and let it absorb then add chicken stock :-)

Denae said...

Okay, I'm certainly trying the white wine next time. Great suggestion!