I love making risotto. I realized that it’s not just because I love an excuse to zone out for thirty minutes. Stirring constantly, periodically adding broth and sipping a glass of chilled Italian white wine all while watching the shimmering buttery arborio rice transform into something creamy and decadent puts me in to a sort of trance. I find this period of time incredibly relaxing and meditative. In fact, in stead of going to see a movie a few nights ago, I opted to stay home and make risotto. But as it turns out, escapism is not the only reason I love making risotto. I love it because you can dress it with whatever flavors you’re craving. And on this particular evening, I could not get my mind off of shrimp, blue cheese and bacon.
Shrimp Risotto with Blue Cheese and Bacon
- 6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon white truffle oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 lemon, for juicing (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon over medium low heat until dark and crispy. With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the bacon from skillet and place on a paper towel over a plate. Set aside.
Meanwhile, In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the shrimp, simmer over medium heat until just cooked, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate to cool. Keep the broth simmering on low.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until it is coated with oil, about 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed. Continue to add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is absorbed. Be sure to keep the pan on medium-low or low. (If you stop stirring for a minute and the pan is too hot, you could burn the rice).Continue adding the broth and stirring in this manner until all of the broth has been used and the risotto is creamy but still slightly firm to the bite. It will take about 30 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and truffle oil. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the basil, blue cheese and bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.