Bacon and tomato risotto

When it comes to risotto, it seems that people fall into one of two camps: those who love making risottos and those who think they involve too much stirring. To the second group of people, I say turn for the baked risotto recipe. However, if you are in the first group, let’s all agree that once you get the hang of a risotto, they are one of the easiest dishes to cook. Not only that, but there is actually something quite lovely about standing at the stove with a glass of wine in one hand and a spoon in the other, stirring a risotto into life.

Ingredients

  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) chicken stock
  • 40 g ( oz) butter
  • 1 leek, white part only, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 rindless bacon rashers, diced
  • 330 g (11½ oz/ cups) arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) white wine
  • 3 ripe roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 50 g (2 oz/½ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese extra virgin olive oil, to serve
  • small basil leaves, to serve

Method

Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat to very low to keep the stock at a low simmer.

Put the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the leek, garlic and bacon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the leek is soft and transparent. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute, or until the grains are well coated and glossy.

Ladle 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of the hot stock into the pan with the rice, then add the tomato paste and wine. Simmer, stirring, until the liquid is completely absorbed. Add another 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of stock and the diced tomato. Cook, stirring, for a few more minutes until the stock has completely absorbed, then add another 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of stock. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, then test the rice to see if it is al dente. If it needs more cooking, add the remaining stock.

Add half of the parmesan and gently fold it into the risotto. Spoon into four warmed pasta bowls and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and scatter with the basil leaves.

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