So, this past week has been a bit rubbish, hasn’t it? With everything that’s going on my stress levels have been way higher than usual and when that happens, it’s time for something that’s really satisfying and delicious.
One of my favourite dishes to cook when I need to de-stress is risotto. When you cook low and slow, time almost stops. I like to be present and in the moment when I’m cooking and having something to focus on is important. Luckily, this recipe allows you to do just that.
Make no mistake, this dish takes a long time and it definitely isn’t something to attempt when you’re in a hurry. However, if you’ve reached the end of a long week and want a great Friday night dinner, this is the one. I quite often pull up a chair next to the hob whilst I’m cooking, so I can sit back and relax whilst stirring slowly.
Unlike many of my other recipes, I can’t really remember when I first started to love risotto but it’s been a go-to dish of mine for a long time. It think the thing I love most about it is that it is so versatile.
The rice is always going to be the star of the dish but there are so many different flavour combinations you can play around with for a truly delicious bowl of food.
One of the most important phrases to remember when cooking risotto is ‘low and slow’. Adding the stock to the pan just a ladle at a time makes such a difference and will leave you with a risotto that is oozy and delicious.
This dish is seriously creamy and full of flavour. It is both warming and comforting and ticks every box if you’re looking for something super indulgent after a stressful week.
Ingredients (for two people)
- 50g unsalted butter.
- 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Half a red onion, finely chopped.
- 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped.
- 80g asparagus, chopped into 1/2 cm pieces.
- 4 rashers of good quality smoked bacon.
- 150-200g risotto rice (I use arborio).
- 1 tsp dried parsley.
- 100ml white wine.
- 1/2 tsp of cyder vinegar.
- 670ml hot chicken stock.
- 35g parmesan.
- 1 tbsp of double cream.
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Squeeze of lemon juice.
- Drizzle of chilli oil (optional).
To start, add your butter, oil, chopped onion and garlic to a pan and fry gently for 5 minutes on a medium heat until the onions start to soften. Next, add the bacon and asparagus and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.
At this point, you’ll want to make sure your stock is heating in a separate pan, ready to add to your rice.
Once your bacon is looking a little crispy, add the risotto rice to your pan and ensure it’s well coated in the oil and butter. Add your wine and cyder vinegar and cook this off for a minute or so on a medium heat until it’s all but evaporated.
Turn your hob down low and add a couple of spoonfuls of stock to the mix. Continuously stir your rice until almost all the stock has evaporated, then, add another ladle of stock to the pan.
Keep doing this until all your stock is used up and your risotto is at a creamy, dropping consistency. You want to make sure it’s not too dry before you add your final ingredients.
Add the parmesan, cream and 1 tbsp of chopped parsley to your risotto and gently stir until eventing is combined. Next, try your risotto and add salt and pepper to taste. You may find that it’s already quite salty due to the cheese and bacon, so it’s really important to try it before you add your seasoning.
To finish, top your risotto with a dash of lemon juice, the remaining parsley and if you like a little kick, a drizzle of chilli oil.
Creamy, comforting and a great way to relax after a stressful week!