Monday, March 7, 2011

In The Kitchen: Spiced Pear Risotto with Bacon & Pecans

Spiced Pear Risotto with Bacon and Pecans

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 3/4 cups arborio rice (orzo also works in a pinch)
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2-3 cups warm chicken broth
  • 1 ripe pear; peeled, cored and diced
  • Heaping 1/8 teaspoon each freshly grated nutmeg & cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 handful of pecan pieces, toasted
  • Salt
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or suitable risotto pan. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a small bowl with the pecans.
Add the shallot to the bacon oil left in the pan and sauté over medium-low heat, until softened, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice or orzo, decrease the heat to low, and cook until it is evenly coated with the oil, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine, turn the heat back up to medium, and stir until absorbed.

Add 1/2 cup of the warm broth and half of the pear to the rice mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the broth is almost fully absorbed. Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and adding more broth only after the previous addition has been absorbed. Add the remaining pear with the last 1/2 cup of broth. When the risotto is creamy, the rice is plump and it has absorbed as much broth as possible, stir in the spices and cheese, then season to taste with salt.

Remove the risotto from the heat and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Divide the risotto into two bowls, and scatter the bacon and pecans over the top.

Serves 2.

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