Saturday, 28 May 2011

Saffron Risotto with Bacon and Peas

I don't often make risotto and I'm not really sure why; it's easy, cheap, doesn't need too many ingredients, and is a great dump bin for all those half-forgotten remnants at the back of the fridge. I even find all that stirring really quite relaxing.  Best of all the leftovers make a great filling for peppers or courgettes, lovely little cheese stuffed risotto cakes, and, spooned straight from the fridge the next day, a pretty great hangover cure.

This combination came about as I had the last of the wonderful smoked bacon from the Lower Hardres Farm Shop, together with the first of the fresh peas.  I added a pinch of the Ewing's Spanish saffron too, for it's delicate flavour and bright, springlike hue. 

Armed with a bunch of spring onions, found wilting at the back of the salad drawer, stock from a cube and a glass or two of vino blanco, to help sustain me while stirring I headed for the stove. And voila! Dinner in half and hour, and with plenty left over for the morning after...

Saffron Risotto with Bacon and Peas
Serves 4

Small Bunch of Spring Onions, chopped
3/4 Rashers Smoked Bacon, diced
Olive Oil
400g Risotto Rice
1-1.5l Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Pinch of saffron (optional)
Couple of Large Handfuls of Shelled Fresh (or Frozen) Peas
Salt and Pepper
Grated Parmesan to Serve

-Put stock (and saffron if using) in a saucepan and simmer gently on back of hob.
-Heat a good glug of olive oil in a casserole, add bacon and fry gently until starting to brown.
-add spring onions and rice and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
-Add a ladle of stock to the rice mixture and stir until the stock has evaporated
-Repeat with further ladles of stock until the rice is soft and creamy, with a little bite in the middle (about 20 minutes)
-Add peas and heat through (don't overcook, or they will turn unappetisingly grey instead of a vibrant green)
-Season and serve with plenty of Parmesan and olive oil

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