Mushroom and Bacon Risotto

  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 oz smoked bacon, chopped
  • 12 oz arborio or risotto rice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dried sliced mushrooms, soaked in a little boiling water
  • 6 oz assorted mushrooms, such as button and cremini
  • 5 cups hot broth
  • a few sprigs of oregano or thyme
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • a little dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp chopped, peeled tomato
  • 8-10 black olives, pitted and quartered
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • thyme sprigs, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan with a lid.  Gently cook the onion and bacon until the onion is tender and the bacon fat has run out.

Stir in the rice and garlic and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes until the rice is well coated. Add the dried mushrooms and their liquid, the fresh mushrooms and half the broth, the oregano, and season to taste. Bring gently to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover tightly and leave to cook.

Gently stir the risotto. If quite dry, add more liquid. (Don’t stir too often, as this lets the steam and flavor out.) Add more liquid as required until the rice is cooked, but not mushy.

Just before serving, stir in the butter, white wine, tomato, and olives and taste for seasoning. Serve hot, garnished with thyme sprigs.

Yield: 4 servings

from Mushrooms: A Book of Recipes By Lorenz Books

Gray: This was fun to make.  I hadn’t worked with dried mushrooms before, but they were pretty easy. Drying really intensified the woodsy aroma of the mushrooms, and you really smell it when they are soaking. I thought this recipe was ok, but it didn’t make us go “Wow!”  We cooked pan-seared scallops to go with this, and they far outshined the risotto.  We both love risotto, but this just wasn’t one of our favorites.  If you decide to try it, I would recommend chopping the mushrooms into smaller pieces (about the same as the onions) they wouldn’t pack the same punch, but I think it would be better in a risotto.

Katie: I agree with Gray that this wasn’t an outstanding recipe. I found that I personally do not like fresh tomatoes in risotto, and the huge size of some of the dried mushrooms was a little daunting. It was good, not bad, but not something we want to make again. As Gray mentioned, we both love risotto, and if we make it at home, we want it to be a wonderful recipe! It also made way more than four servings. It was more like six or eight. When we tried to eat it a second night, it did NOT reheat well. Neither of us liked the reheated risotto, and normally we don’t have problems eating reheated leftovers. So I would say, only make as much as you can eat fresh, cut the mushrooms into small pieces, and leave out the tomatoes if you are going to make it.

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