Entertaining/ Entree/ Sides

Bacon-y Brussels Sprouts Risotto

aerial view of a white bowl of creamy brussels sprouts risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes people get really nervous about making. I was one of those people until I just started making batch after batch, determined to figure it out – in the case of risotto, practice DOES make perfect. The keys to success are to learn how to tell the doneness of the rice (so you don’t serve under-cooked/over-cooked rice) and to know how/when to add other ingredients (in this case, the sprouts). Other than that, risotto is basically a waiting game.thinly sliced brussels sprouts in a white bowlThe other key to success is to fully prep it out – set every ingredient you’ll need right where you can reach it, pour yourself a big glass of something (I generally hit up the wine that I use in the recipe), and hang out by the stove. If you are like me and have small, wild children, this is the time to stick them in front of the TV or some other totally distracting activity. Do not multitask while cooking risotto!wooden spoon stirring brussels sprouts in risottoMany people save risotto as a special occasion dish and it IS really beautiful/impressive to serve for guests. But I also think it’s a great weeknight meal. Hear me out: kids usually like it, you can absolutely make it in under an hour or even under 45 minutes including your prep time, and it’s a perfect opportunity to use up produce (in my case, Parmesan cheese that seems to accumulate in the fridge).white bowl of risotto topped with bacon chives with brussels sproutsYou can use this base recipe with other non-sprouts ingredients such as mushrooms, butternut squash, peas and asparagus, etc. The basic proportions I use for risotto are: 1 cup of arborio rice, 3 cups of stock and 1/2 cup white wine, 1 cup of diced onion or 1-2 shallots, and then 2-3 tablespoons of butter with at least 1/2 cup Parmesan at the end. For a vegetable like mushrooms, I prefer to cook and season them separately and just stir in at the end to combine.

Brussels Sprouts Risotto

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Serves: 6 as a side
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 35-40 minutes

The flavors in this recipe love each other: bacon, white wine, onions, sprouts, Parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of lemon.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3-4 cups of stock, warmed
  • 2-3 TBS butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 sliced of bacon, cooked and chopped/crumbled
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon
  • chives to garnish

Instructions

1

If using bacon, cook the bacon until crispy in a large pan, then set bacon aside but keep fat in pan.

2

Add onions to the pan over medium heat and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes, stirring.

3

Add the rice and allow to toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring.

4

Add the white wine and stir, allow to cook down slightly.

5

Begin adding ladle-fulls/pours of the warmed stock. Once added, stir rice until the liquid is almost fully absorbed before adding more.

6

Cook rice for approximately 20 minutes over medium heat until done. You will see the color of the rice change as it cooks.

7

When you are about 5-7 minutes from the rice being fully , add in the brussels sprouts along with more of the stock. At this stage you should have 1/2-1 cup of stock left.

8

Turn off the heat, and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and if you'd like a pour of cream. Stir to combine and then either cover or just allow to rest for a few minutes. This will thicken your risotto and make it very creamy.

9

Top with bacon and chives and serve!

Notes

I slice the sprouts on a mandoline so they are thinly cut. Depending how much fat the bacon releases, add either a little butter or oil to your pan before adding the onions. Or, remove some of the bacon fat. You don't want anything to stick, and both add flavor to the onions and rice.

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