Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red Wine Risotto with Bacon, Mushrooms and Peas

I'm becoming a wine gal. I think it's because I live alone and you look classy if you are drinking a glass of wine by yourself but a bottle of beer makes you look like an alcoholic (you know, to the outside world that is obviously watching your every move and judging what you do when you are by yourself). True? I'm not sure, but in my messed up mind this makes sense.

I don't really drink a lot of wine. Just a glass here or there with dinner (okay, maybe two glasses if it is a weekend and I'm sucked into a good book or sappy movie). My journey with wine has really been an adapting one; I used to only like white wines like Pinot Grigio because I needed it to be cold and I liked the crispy taste. Recently, however, I've gotten into red wine- not sweet red wine- but drier reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. I will never ever claim to be a wine connoisseur because let's be honest, I buy wine because it is on sale or because I'm drawn to the picture on the bottle.

Anyway, usually I will open up a bottle of wine and over the course of a few days finish it. However, after my trip to NC a few weeks ago I realized I had a half bottle that had been sitting on my counter for a little too long. I thought to myself, it probably doesn't taste as good any more so I should probably cook with it instead of drinking it. My mind jumped to risotto and I experimented from there. As this was only the second time I made risotto (see here for the first and step-by-step directions), I think I did pretty well making up the recipe. I enjoyed it for sure. As with my last risotto recipe, this serves one, but you could certainly up the amount for 2 or 4 people.

In case you are wondering, I'm not the first person to experiment with red wine in the kitchen. See this article for 100 recipes using leftover wine. I've already bookmarked some of them for the next bottle I don't finish...

Red Wine Risotto with Bacon, Mushrooms and Peas
2 pieces bacon (+ 1 tbsp bacon fat)
1-1 1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium store bought or homemade)
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
5 button mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for serving
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook over medium heat in a large skillet until browned. Drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel and discard all but 1 tbsp bacon grease.

Bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat in a small saucepan. Cover and reduce the heat to low.

Add the onion and garlic to the skillet with the bacon grease and cook over medium heat until soften about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in the peas and rice and cook, stirring quickly, until the well coated, about 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost gone, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms. Add the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, and stir the rice constantly until almost all the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Continue to add broth until the rice has been cooking for 20-25 minutes. Taste and check to see if the rice is tender but not mushy. Continue to cook, adding a little more liquid to keep moist until you reach the desired consistency.

Remove pan from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Pour into a bowl and top with bacon pieces and additional parmesan cheese as desired.

Serves 1.

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