Last night threatened fall, but the swarms of bugs seemed to think summer isn't going to retreat without a fight. A few weeks ago I'd folded down a page of my Everyday Food with a recipe for bacon and leek risotto, then promptly was overcome by the vapors at the prospect of thick, cheesy rice and a full belly on a 200-degree Alabama day.
But because Everyday Food is for everyday people with everyday budgets and everyday attention spans, the recipes are short and sweet. This one bore the added benefit of calling for things I already had in the larder, like 2.5 cups rice,
(Yes, I thought I had enough arborio on the Woodside but did, in fact, not. So that's a mixture of basmati and arbioro, there. But won't that affect the taste, you ask? Of course ... yes.)
4 strips bacon,
(Fresh from the freezer, the best way to always have bacon on hand. You will never know it had been frozen, and if you roll each slice up individually beforehand, you can portion out servings in a blink. For bacon emergency situations.)
and .5 cup freshly grated Parmigiano.
Then I made a quick jog down the street for 2 leeks,
1 cup dry white wine (in this case, Sauvignon Blanc),
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice,
.75 cup frozen peas,
and 96 ounces low-sodium chicken stock (not pictured).
I let the bacon render in the pan until "lightly browned but not crisp," then added the leeks until soft.
And ... well, then things fell apart a little bit. After the rice went in to toast for a minute and everything got to swim in the wine until it evaporated, the broth-stir-broth-stir process began. The broth simmered on an adjacent eye and I added it, in 1-cup increments, until it absorbed, then repeated the process, stirring all the while, for 35 minutes.
Then the momster came to help me with my kitchen floor, I got distracted and chitchatty, and managed to take no pictures of the process. In my defense, the pictures that come out of the Woodside kitchen are just horrible and yellow and glarey, and I don't have any recourse when there is no natural light.
Ew. The peas, lemon juice, and cheese get stirred in at this point, after which it sits, covered, for 2 minutes. Then enjoy!
Or ... not so much. I mean, it was fine. But on the odd occasion when I actually do remember to buy all the ingredients I need, I want a result that's a little less boring. I think I would have sautéed the leeks but stirred them in at the end, so they'd retain a little of their oniony crunch, and definitely would have cooked the bacon until charred the way I like it and used it as a topping. There was just no flavor depth here at all.
Oh, and I also might have considered reading the recipe all the way to the end, just for something new. The whole time I was stirring, and the rice was growing, and I was thinking, "Seriously? This serves four? I don't think I can eat a whole portion. I must be getting very dainty." Until I read the last step, which said, "Divide risotto in half, and save for risotto cakes on page 91."
So I have three more servings of mediocre dinner, and now Martha's forcing me to make an additional four servings into some cake-type situation.