Risotto is the perfect winter food for a weekday meal. It is comfort food without the feeling of OMG I am so stuffed. This risotto recipe takes about 30 minutes to make. You can consider the chopping and stirring your transition from day time activities to your evening of relaxation. I suggest serving the risotto with a simple salad and a glass of Mosel Riesling. Trust me, you will feel rewarded as you savor the flavors of this risotto.
I adapted the risotto recipe with apples, sage, fontina and bacon from one of my favorite cookbooks Buvette, by Jody Williams. Williams also suggested adding a savory component like smoked prosciutto to make it more of a meal. My twist was adding applewood smoked bacon and instead of the traditional arborio rice, I used Charleston Gold Rice If you have never heard or tried Charleston Gold Rice, it is an offspring of the heirloom grain “Carolina Gold.” The flavor of Charleston Gold Rice is amazing. I use it not only for risotto, but also paella.
Wine Pairing – An off-dry Riesling like the 2015 Karthäuserhof Riesling Ruder QbA tasting notes, pairs nicely with the risotto. The sweetness in the Riesling was a nice contrast to the salty smoky bacon and echoed the sweetness in the Honey Crisp apple. The fresh acidity in the Riesling cut the richness in the cheese and nicely complimented the Honey Crisp apple.
Risotto with Apples, Sage, Fontina & Bacon
- 4 oz. applewood smoked bacon
- 2 apples ( I used Honey Crisp to pair with the Riesling), cored and cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup Riesling
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup shallots chopped
- 10 fresh sage leaves chopped
- 1 cup risotto rice (I used Charleston Gold Rice)
- coarse Kosher salt
- 3-4 cups boiling water
- 2/3 cup Fontina Cheese I used Italian, diced
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese plus extra for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and line the bacon slices on the sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn the bacon slices over for another 5-10 minutes. You want the bacon done but NOT crispy. When cool, chop the bacon into dice size pieces.
- Put the apples slices in a small bowl with the Riesling. Set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sage. Stirring and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook stirring until the rice kernels turn opaque,about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the Riesling that the apples have been soaking in and reserve the apples. Cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
- Add a pinch of salt and 1 cup of the boiling water. Stirring continuously until the water is almost evaporated before adding the second cup of boiling water. Continue stirring. When the water is almost evaporated, add the third cup of boiling water and the apple and bacon.
- Continue stirring until the water is almost evaporated. Test for doneness. Rice should be cooked through but still have a bit of firmness. If needed add 1/4 cup water at a time until cooked.
- Total cooking time is about 20 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and both cheeses. Stir vigorously to combine.