I have a serious love affair with risotto. It is one of my absolute favourite foods. If I had to pick my last meal on earth, risotto would definitely feature heavily in there somewhere. Until recently I had never made it. It just sounded too tricky. I'd heard that you have to stir and stir it, and can never leave it alone and so it was something I just put in the 'too hard' basket. This turned out to be a huge mistake, because while risotto can be a little time consuming, it really isn't harder than many other dishes I make and it is so worth it. The recipe I'm going to share is a low-fat (ish) version, so I don't use cream or any really high-fat ingredients like that, but it is still really nice. But, if you've never had risotto before, do yourself a favour and order it at a fancy restaurant some time where they will use all manner of bad-for-you ingredients. Because a really amazing risotto is seriously awesome.
That's about enough of that now.
So here is a recipe I've kind of pulled together that encompasses a few of my favourite flavours. It actually didn't go that well this time. I have made it better, but for some reason it wasn't quite as perfect as I have made before... but you know that's life.
Chicken and Bacon Risotto
Serves 4-6 (depending on how hungry you are)
500g chicken thigh fillet, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 zucchini, shaved into ribbons
Sun-dried tomatoes, thinly chopped (I'll leave amounts up to you as I go a little overboard)
10 button mushrooms, chopped
4 pieces of bacon, diced
Shaved Parmesan cheese
2 cups aborio rice
6 cups of chicken stock (hot)
2 cups white wine
Thyme (fresh or dried)
1 cup of Greek low fat yoghurt or sour cream
First, fry your onion and half the garlic in the butter. Then add the rice and coat it. Then add a ladleful of stock at at time, stirring regularly. As the rice absorbs the stock, add more. You can also add the wine in between the stock.
While you are doing this, you can also fry the chicken and bacon and the other garlic clove in a separate pan.
Once this is done and the rice is cooked well (it is worth tasting it to make sure, if it's not just add more liquid until it is), add your zucchini and mushrooms to the rice. Stir.
Once the vegetables have softened, turn the heat off and then add the tomato, chicken and bacon and the thyme. Stir. Then add your yoghurt or sour cream and mix it in. Add however much of the yoghurt/sour cream you think you need to give it a creamy texture. I generally just add a couple of dollops until I get it right, so you may not need a whole cup.
Finally serve in bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Risotto is one of the few things I know Georgie will eat- she just loves it!
A few tips:
-Risotto uses a liquid to rice ratio of roughly 4:1, that is 4 cups of liquid to every cup of rice. So if you want to up the ingredients to feed more that's one thing to bear in mind.
- It is not necessary to heat the stock before using it, but it's one of those little things that just seems to make it better.
- White wine makes a risotto so much better, so when I can I tend to use it, but it is not necessary.
- The key to a good risotto (I think) is not to stuff it full of ingredients. You're better off letting a few choice ingredients shine, rather than using too many, otherwise it ends up more like a fried rice.
- You have to use a risotto rice (I've always used aborio), plain rice will not work.
- Risotto is much better with Parmesan cheese on top