Apple & Bacon Risotto
The other day, I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner. I had three options in mind and started with an idea I had from a recipe I saw in The Buffalo News when reading an article about the Lloyd Taco Truck. It was risotto with apples and bacon. It seemed a little crazy or crazy delicious. It would certainly be rich, but isn’t any sort of risotto? So, I figured, why not?
My husband’s response: “I don’t think I need to hear the rest. You can stop right there cause that sounds awesome…” And with that, I got to it. I stirred until my arm felt so sore, I might as well have just taken a kickboxing class. If you don’t make risotto often, I recommend alternating arms when you stir. Seriously…
I’m pleased to report that the bacon, apple, hard cider and asiago worked together in perfect harmony to make this dish an autumn delight. (Side note: cooking with hard cider is fun! It’s a bit like working with beer.) Here’s my recipe:
Apple & Bacon Risotto
4 1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
4 pieces of bacon (we like Applegate Farms’ Natural Sunday Bacon, which is organic, antibiotic and nitrate free)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. sage leaves
1 1/2 c. arborio rice
1 c. hard cider (I used Harpoon)
1 large firm apple; plus, a few small slices reserved for garnish
3 oz. asiago cheese, shredded; plus, a few small slices reserved for garnish
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the broth in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until barely done. Put aside; when cool, chop into small bits.
- Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add sage, then the risotto, then bacon; stir to coat.
- Add the hard cider and cook for 2 mins., stirring, until it is almost evaporated.
- Add 1/2 c. of the hot broth and cook, stirring, until it is almost absorbed. Repeat with additions of the broth, allowing them to be absorbed before the next round. Stir, stir, stir.
- While the risotto is cooking, peel and core the apple. Cut 3/4 into very small dice; cut remaining part into very thin slices for garnish. Keep stirring risotto.
- Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced apple and cook for 5 mins., stirring to brown lightly; remove from pan when tender. Set aside. Add the remaining apple slices to the skillet and cook for a minute or two, until they are slightly browned. Keep stirring risotto.
- Add the sauteed diced apple to the risotto with the last addition of broth. Stir, stir, stir. Add cheese and stir to combine. The risotto should be creamy and the liquid should be absorbed. (By now, the risotto has been cooking about 20 mins. It should not need longer than 25 mins.)
- Remove from the heat. Cover; let stand for 3 mins.
- Scoop in shallow bowls; top with a few thin slices or shreds of asiago cheese, the sauteed apple slices, a sprinkling of salt and fresh pepper.