I know you are not surprised that since it’s now officially FALL, I am back on the comfort food train! As if my butt needs any more comfort food, but that’s a whole other issue lol.
It got very chilly and rainy (?! this is not normal for where I live) last week and after being soaked to the skin twice in one day, I knew what I needed- a warm, hearty risotto and having just finished making corn stock, I figured corn and bacon risotto would be a perfect match for the kind of day I was having. Corn and bacon risotto isn’t exactly a “traditional” risotto, it’s kind of something I just figured would be good a year or so ago, and so I made it! Cooking is all about the fun anyhow, right?
Corn and Bacon Risotto
$8.82 for four or $2.21 per serving
1/2 a package of bacon (or about 2 slices per person if you’re buying by the slice)- $3.15
1 onion- $1.04
1 cup of arborio rice- ~$0.80
2 cups of corn- ~$0.45
~4 cups of corn stock (use 1.5 containers of vegetable or chicken stock from the store if you won’t be making your own)- free
1/2 cup of grated parmesan- $3.38
Optional: 1/2 cup white wine (if skipping, deglaze your pan with stock)
Kitchen staples: garlic, dried thyme, chili flakes, butter (optional)
Okay- your first step is to take your bacon and cut it into bacon bit sized pieces. Take the pot or pan you’re going to make your risotto in, and fry your bacon bits up on medium heat until they’re crispy. While the bacon is crisping, chop up your onion and mince 1-2 cloves of garlic.
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon once it’s fully crisp, and put it on a plate lined with paper toweling so any residual bacon fat will drain off. Take your chopped and minced onions and garlic and put them straight into that bacon fat to soften along with a pinch of chili flakes and a couple dashes of dried thyme.
Yes. We’re doing this with the bacon fat. It’s ok if it seems like you have a ton of brown bacon-y-ness in the pot. Keep the heat medium and it won’t burn, and the brown will become flavor right away.
Once your onions and garlic are cooked down, you will add 1 cup of arborio rice to the bacon fat-onion-garlic mixture to toast (the edges of your rice need to go translucent while the interior of the grain is still white, so you should be able to tell). Keep the rice coated in the onion mixture, if it starts to look a bit dry, add some olive oil. Once the edges of your rice are translucent, grab about 1/2 cup of white wine and deglaze the pan to get all of the bacony goodness into your rice.
At this point, it’s like any other risotto. Cook off the liquid, add more. Cook off the liquid, add more. Season with salt and pepper along the way. Once you have added about 2 cups of stock, start testing a grain or two of rice (by putting it in your mouth and seeing how chewy it is) before you add more stock so you can see how close it is to cooked. This is a great time to chill out, stir your pot casually and have a glass of wine. Cooking risotto is therapeutic.
Once your rice is fully cooked, add in your corn and stir to incorporate.
Now, in my family there are two camps on finishing risotto. My mum and sister, who say butter and parmesan are “barely necessary” and me… who says “give me the butter and cheese you madmen”. I finish this risotto with about 1/2 a cup of grated parmesan and a pat of butter. If you don’t want to, I’ll judge you, but I can’t make you.
To serve, dish up into a bowl and top with a sprinkling of bacon bits. Enjoy!
Do you have a recipe that you find therapeutic to make? Let me know in the comments section!