This was one of the first recipes I cooked on my own after college, and man, this was a revelation, for several reasons.  One, that Jewel Staite, aka Kaylee from Firefly did a cooking blog, and was pretty awesome at it. Two, the way you could buy a bottle of wine, use part of it in a recipe, and drink the rest, and have it be socially acceptable.  😛  

A few notes on what I used for this recipe.  Usually, I’ve substituted regular parmesan for parmigiano-reggiano, but here I used SarVecchio’s Bella Vitano Gold, and I honestly think it’s a more than acceptable substitute (and plus it tastes fantastic).  As with my other risotto recipe, I use Cupcake Winery’s Angel Food white wine.  The frozen peas were bought shelled on the cheap over the summer and thrown into the freezer, and the bacon comes from a local farmer’s market vendor.  It’s definitely worth putting the money into this, because the results are one of my favorite mainstay recipes.

Jewel Staite’s Bacon and Pea Risotto
Lasts 5 lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 1 qt (32 oz, 4 c) chicken stock
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • .5 lb bacon (definitely go with farmer’s market bacon if you can, otherwise, thick cut), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • half of a medium onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c white wine (I use Cupcake Winery’s Angel Food)
  • 1.5 c arborio rice
  • handful of cherry tomatoes (usually half a pint), halved
  • .5 c frozen peas
  • 2 T marscapone cheese
  • .5 c parmigiano-reggiano (or SarVecchio BellaVitano Gold, or plain ol’ parmesan)

On a separate burner, over medium-low heat, heat your quart of chicken stock, and keep it at that temperature until needed later in the recipe.

Take your bacon, and chop it thin. While you’re chopping your bacon, put your olive oil in a skillet and heat it over medium high.  Cook it to your desired doneness (I usually go for medium, not crispy at all), and drain off the bacon and all but 1 T of the fat.  Add your garlic and onions, and cook until the onion is translucent.  Add your cherry tomatoes, and then soon after, your rice.  Toast your rice until it smells nutty, and then add your cup of wine, stirring until it’s completely absorbed (see pic 3).  Then, drink the rest of the bottle of wine as your cooking the risotto.  Yes, this is absolutely necessary to the success of the recipe. Because science.

Now, take your heated chicken stock, and add a few ladlefuls at a time to the risotto, stirring constantly until it’s absorbed, and then adding a few more, until your quart of chicken stock is used up.  It’s going to take almost constant effort, but the result will be worth it, especially in how creamy it makes it, trust me.  After the chicken stock is used up, taste the risotto to see where it’s at – it should be creamy, but not at all mushy.  Keep drinking the wine.  It totally helps.

Once your risotto is ready, then add your peas and stir for a few minutes, before removing the risotto from the heat.  Once the heat is off, add your two cheeses, followed by your reserved bacon.

And then, enjoy your awesome meal, with whatever of the wine you haven’t already drank.

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