BACON & MUSHROOM RISOTTO (serves 3)
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
300g smoked back bacon, fat chopped finely, remainder diced
1 medium onion, chopped finely
quarter tsp of ground black pepper
20g unsalted butter
250g mixed white and chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1.5 tsp dried tarragon
0.5 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
300g Arborio rice
175ml (miniature bottle) of Sauvignon Blanc white wine
1.5 litres of simmering mixed chicken & vegetable stock
finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese for garnish
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley for garnish.
Heat the rapeseed oil in a deep saucepan or wok over a high heat and add the bacon pieces. Cook until the moisture has all burned off and the bacon is just beginning to turn golden.
Reduce the heat and add the onion and black pepper. Stir and fry until the onion is softened and transparent, but don't let it brown.
Add the unsalted butter and mushroom slices. Stir regularly until the butter has melted and the mushrooms have softened. Add the tarragon, thyme and Worcestershire sauce and stir through.
Increase the heat and while the pan contents are heating up, add the rice and stir to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan but becomes coated in the flavoured oil.
Once the rice is well coated and the temperature is up, add the white wine. This should sizzle as it hits the pan and the rice gives what is known as a "sigh" as it begins to absorb the liquid. From this moment on, you should be - pretty much - stirring non-stop (20 mins approx) to gently encourage the rice to release its starch.
Once the wine is all absorbed, add a ladleful of the stock and stir until it is absorbed by the rice. Continue on this way - a ladleful of stock, stir, stir until it is absorbed - until the rice is tender but retains a tiny bit of al dente bite.
Finish by continuing to cook and stir until the consistency is unctuous and saucy, but not running with liquid. Check for seasoning - you won't need salt because of the bacon and the salty cheese you're about to garnish it with.
Serve into warmed bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of grated cheese and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.