Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Bacon

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
Serves 4

Risotto, creamy and smooth is an easy meal to prepare, and with a few twists added can become elegant and chic in no time. Mushrooms are ideal to add, as you can use baby button mushrooms with their gentle flavour, or large Portobello mushrooms with their deep earthy notes. All will partner well with crispy bacon rashers and chives.

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and finely diced 
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic 
50 grams butter 
1 generous cup short grain rice, preferably one for risotto making such as arborio 
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (stock powder and water is just fine) 
250 grams mushrooms 
1/2 cup grated parmesan or cheddar-style cheese 
1/2 cup cream 

Extras 

About 1 cup walnuts 
8 rashers bacon 
Small bundle of chives, chopped 
Extra cheese such as parmesan if desired 

Method

Cook the onion and garlic in the butter in a large frying pan, for 10-12 minutes over a low heat until very soft; the onion needs to be well cooked before adding the rice. Stir regularly to prevent the onion and garlic from burning.

Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter. Add the stock half a cup at a time, stirring regularly over a moderately low heat until the rice has absorbed the stock. Add the next half a cup of stock and stir regularly until absorbed. Continue in this manner until half the stock has been absorbed. 

Dice three quarters of the mushrooms and add to the risotto. Continue to cook the rice with the stock, adding the stock half a cup at a time. Slice the remaining mushrooms and while the risotto is cooking, pan fry the mushrooms and bacon rashers in a dash of oil until golden. Keep warm in a low oven. The walnuts can be tossed in the residue oil left by the bacon and cooked over a moderate heat until toasted. This way they will soak up all the delicious bacon flavours too. 

Once all the stock has been added and the rice is tender, stir in the cheese and cream and then taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Serve in bowls or from the pan, garnished with the mushroom slices, bacon, chives and extra cheese.