14 September 2012

* Bacon and Zucchini Risotto

Bacon and Zucchini Risotto
The only reason I've used the word Zucchini, instead of Courgette (I'm British)... is because I really like the letter 'Z'. That's it. That's the reason.... 'Courgette' sounds like a car with issues. 'Zucchini' sounds like something green, Italian and sexy. I've no idea if Zucchini is an Italian word or not. I don't care if it's Bulgarian for 'Breeze Block'. It's a nice word.

I also like the word 'plank', but it's hard to incorporate it into the title of a recipe.

Actually, it's hard to incorporate into an every day sentence unless used in context or as an insult.

Still. 'Plank' is a good word.

As is 'cheese'.

Back to the topic... Blondie - my partner in crime at work - brought a huge bag of baby yellow courgettes into work a couple of days ago - fresh from her garden - for the rest of us to share. I was really tempted to make another ratatouille hotpot, but as we've only recently had one and I really fancied rice tonight - I made a risotto instead.

Neil is not a fan of risotto, so I called it something complicated and asked if he'd eat it.

He said yes.

He'd cleared his plate and was licking his lips when he decided to ask if I'd just conned him into eating risotto.

I said no.

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Serves 2

Prep time - 5 minutes
Cooking time - 45 minutes

You will need
A large frying pan/skillet
A baking dish/flame proof casserole dish

2 tbsp olive oil
300g courgettes/zucchini - sliced on the diagonal (bias cut) - a mix of green and yellow is good
150g bacon (not smoked bacon) - chopped
1 small onion - chopped
1 clove garlic - crushed
1 tsp dried rosemary
100g risotto rice - arborio works well
90ml white wine
450ml boiling vegetable stock - low salt bouillon or stock cube is fine
80g Philadelphia Light
50g cheddar - grated

In the frying pan, fry the courgettes/zucchini for 5 minutes until starting to turn golden. remove with a slotted spoon and keep to one side. Next add the bacon, garlic, onion and rosemary to the pan and fry until the bacon begins to crisp and the onions soften - about 8 minutes.

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with the oil and bacon juices. Cook for one minute then add the wine. It should sizzle and bubble and cook off fairly quickly.  Add one third of the hot stock, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer (if you haven't already) and cook until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, stirring all the time.

Continue to the add the stock, a ladle at a time, waiting each time until the liquid has been absorbed. Stirring, stirring, stirring.... stirring. Should take about 20 minutes but might take a little bit longer. Cook until the rice is tender and all of the stock has been absorbed.

Stir the Philadelphia into the rice, mix until melted then add the golden pieces of courgette and gently fold them in. Spoon the risotto into the baking dish, scatter with the grated cheddar and whack under a hot grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Serve immediately with crusty fresh bread or foccacia and a HUGE glass of sauvignon blanc :)

NOTE: Whatever you do - don't add salt to this dish. The bacon is seasoning enough. You can, of course, leave the bacon out for a vegetarian option.

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