Risotto is one of the very first things I learnt how to cook. My first ever boyfriend used to make it for me a lot, and I'd never had it before in my sheltered little hobbit life so I used to demand it basically every time we were together (I'm a delightful girlfriend, as you can imagine). I stole the recipe & still make it all the time - it's a leeky, cheesey affair which is immensely comforting, and I'll no doubt post the recipe here some time soon. It's made in the classic risotto way which involves a lot of time, care & attention, and I've always really enjoyed the process of stirring away at the stove, letting all the stress of the day disappear as you gaze mindlessly into the distance. Therefore, I was pretty suspicious of this recipe, which requires only about 10 minutes of stirring before you pop the lid on & place the whole thing into the oven, so that you can get on with something else whilst the risotto cooks away merrily without you.
But I needn't have worried and, in fact, may never return to the standard risotto method ever again. This risotto is incredibly creamy without being too stodgy, and the rice is cooked to absolute perfection. Nothing burnt or stuck to the base of the pan like I was afraid of, and all the flavours ooze into each other in the oven making this a wonderfully moreish dish. This is a remarkably simple recipe but it yields impressive results, and would be ideal for a dinner party, or any occasion where you need to feed several people at once but still want to seem fancy. Or, indeed, just for you. I won't tell if you won't.
To serve 4, you will need:
- 250g smoked bacon, cut into small pieces.
- 1 onion.
- A tablespoon of butter.
- A tablespoon of olive oil.
- 200ml white wine (optional).
- 700ml chicken or vegetable stock.
- A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes.
- 300g risotto rice.
1. Preheat the oven 200 degrees C. In a large, oven proof saucepan or casserole dish (which has a lid), heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add in your bacon pieces & fry until cooked.
2. Chop & peel your onion, then add it into the dish alongside a tablespoon of butter.
3. Fry for approximately 5 minutes, until soft.
4. Tip in the rice and mix well, until every grain is coated in the butter and oil.
5. Pour in 200ml white wine and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed.
6. Add in 700ml hot chicken or vegetable stock, give it all a quick stir, then put the lid on and place in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes, until the rice is soft and creamy.
Serve with a sprinkle of black pepper & a generous handful of parmesan. And don't even try and pretend like you won't be going back for seconds.