I first had risotto almost 10 years ago, on the Disney Cruise. It was so good; so rich and creamy.
Then I had it again at the Olive Garden several years ago, and was convinced I needed to learn to make it. Stat.
So, it’s really not that complicated. And it makes a great side dish, or in this case it even works as the entree.
This risotto is loaded with veggies and bacon (BACON!!), a touch of cream, and some parmesan cheese. Nothing wrong with that.
To get all the veggies to cook evenly, you want to cut them fairly small. With each bite you want to have some rice and veggies, so these should not be bite size, just a little smaller.
You start by cooking the veggies that take the longest, and then add the other veggies in as you go, so they will all be done at the same time.
I started with the carrots, then added the cauliflower. Then came the zucchini and broccoli at the same time. Give them a few more minutes and remove from heat to a bowl. I cook the rice in the same pot as the veggies. Keeps all that flavor in one spot.
For the rice, start with olive oil, butter, and onion. Take a deep breath. Mmmmm, that smells good.
Then add the arborio rice. Let the rice get nice and hot in the oil and butter before you add any liquid.
(Arborio rice is a short grain rice that can absorb a lot of water, cal-rose rice can be used in its place in a pinch.)
Then add 1 cup of broth at a time.
You will cook the rice in the broth until all the liquid is absorbed. See below… Then add the next cup of broth and repeat.
After the three cups of broth you check the rice to see if it is soft enough. If not add 1/2 cup water and cook until all the liquid is absorbed again.
Once the rice is soft enough for you, add the cream and parmesan. At this point I like to add frozen peas, and green onions if I have them. If not, no big deal. Add in the cooked veggies, and crisp- crumbled- bacon now as welll. Stir to combine, and serve hot.
- 1/4- 1/2 zucchini
- 2-3 florets of broccoli
- 2-3 florets of cauliflower
- 1 medium-large carrot
- 1 small-medium onion
- 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water, if needed
- Optional: frozen peas, sliced green onions, bell pepper
- Dice all veggies. Cook carrots in a medium/ large pot on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook another minute or two. Add zucchini and broccoli, and cook for 2 more minutes. Then remove vegetables from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot saute the onion in the olive oil and butter, for 2 minutes. Add the uncooked rice and cook 1-2 minutes more. Be careful not to burn the rice. Add 1 cup of chicken (or vegetable) broth. Stir rice and broth occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Add 1 more cup of broth and repeat the process. Add the third cup of broth once the liquid is absorbed again. After the liquid from the third cup of broth is absorbed test the rice by tasting a piece or two to see if it is tender enough. If not add the 1/2 cup water and stir until absorbed. Rice should be done now.
- Pour the cream and parmesan cheese over the cooked rice, and reduce heat to low. Stir to combine. If adding frozen peas or green onions, add them now. Then add all the cooked vegetables and cooked bacon to the rice. Stir again.
- Serve as a side dish or entree, and serve while still hot.
You can add pretty much any vegetables that you want. Also, if you don’t want bacon, you can leave that out. So this could be a vegetarian meal if you wanted it to be. Just substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.