I am by no means a professional cook. I’m just an ordinary girl who grew to love cooking at a very young age, thanks to a grandmother with the loveliest hands you’ve ever seen make something, and my mother who has fed me practically my whole life.
Sometimes I make up recipes to share on here. Sometimes I tweak a recipe of another that I’ve seen or heard of, and make it my own. And sometimes I take the recipe of a fellow cook and try to recreate it. You see fancy food blogs and professional looking pictures all the time. But can a regular person, like me, make the recipe look like the photo?
I have to tell you, often times the answer is no. People have high tech cameras, and that program to edit photos…I’m blanking on the name….ahhh! I hate that. Anyways, they have ways to make food look amazingly bright and beautiful. But have you ever taken that same recipe and made it at home, just to find it looks nothing like the picture? It happens to me all-of-the-time more often than I’d like to admit.
Photoshop! Ahh hah! That’s the name. I knew it’d come to me if I forgot about it for a second. Anyways..
I promise you guys what I make here is not fancied up nor are they recipes that are impossible for just the average cook to make. I am a regular person. I am you! Just a girl who likes to cook, on a graduate student budget, in a tiny apartment kitchen that has barely enough counter space for a cutting board. Yes, that is me.
Where was I going with this story?
Oh yes, Risotto.
Today was my first time ever making risotto. It’s always seemed like a very daunting thing to make. And different recipes have very specific directions, such as cook for exactly 18 minutes! Well I have to tell you this wasn’t ready after 18 minutes. I did not have a recipe for this, all I had was a general idea as to how to make basic rice.
This was no more challenging than making a box of rice-a-roni and come on…I know we’ve all made that at least once. Again this is my own version. No fancy ingredients here. Who really wants to pay $8 for a little container of mascarpone cheese anyways? I didn’t think so…
Creamy Corn and Bacon Risotto (Serves 2)
3/4 cup arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 ear of fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off
In a large pot set over medium to medium high heat, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and discard of most of the fat, reserving at least 1 Tbs. of grease in the pan. Add the butter and let it melt, then add the rice. Cook the rice in the fat for a couple minutes just to toast it up a little. Season with a couple turns of your pepper mill. (I did not add any salt whatsoever. For my taste there was enough salt from the bacon and the stock.)
Meanwhile, have a smaller pan set over low heat, keeping the chicken stock warm. Once the rice has toasted for a couple minutes, add in a ladle full of stock. This risotto requires constant stirring. I know it’s annoying to stand and stir for 20 minutes straight but at least this risotto is a sufficient meal, along side a salad, so you don’t have to make anything else.
Once some of the liquid has absorbed, add in 2 more ladles full of stock. And you’re just going to keep repeating this process until all of the stock is used up. Add stock, stir stir stir, when most of it’s absorbed then add more stock, stir stir stir, wash rise and repeat. The whole process should take about 20 or so minutes. This could vary, so just eye ball it.
Once you get down to about 2 ladles of stock remaining, that is when you’ll add the rest of the ingredients. Add in the remaining stock, the cream cheese, corn and Parmesan cheese. Stir everything together until it is melted and delicious. When you taste the rice it should be “al dente”, meaning it’s tender but still has some bite left to it. Sprinkle in half of the reserved bacon and then plate the risotto in a shallow bowl or on a plate along side a fresh salad. Top with more bacon pieces and more Parmesan cheese. Serve and eat immediately.
Not bad for us regular folks, eh?