As fall finally gets into full swing, my dinner preferences are slowly switching over from refreshing, crunchy foods and sharp flavors to more mellow, filling dishes like casseroles and risottos. This one is rich, creamy, flavorful– and full of vegetables, so you don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying it. And with ingredients like bacon, onions, Parmesan cheese, Brussels sprouts, and white wine, what’s not to enjoy?
The best part (well, other than the bacon) is that the recipe skips the tedious “add a ladleful of stock, stir until absorbed, add a ladleful of stock…” steps that you usually get with risotto, and instead utilizes the oven to make the whole process a snap. This is a great weeknight meal or side dish, and I definitely foresee myself making it (or variations of it) again and again.
Okay, I said it was “no-stir,” but what I meant was “no constant stirring.” Of course you have to stir it at the end, or you’d never get anything edible. So don’t take me literally, okay?
Brussels Sprout Risotto With Bacon
1 – 1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, shaved thin (I used a mandoline slicer)
1/4 lb. bacon (about four thick slices), cut into small pieces
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tbs. butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a Dutch oven, sauté the bacon for 3-4 minutes, until cooked but not yet crisp.
2. Add the diced onions and continue to sauté until they start to turn translucent and the bacon starts to crisp slightly.
3. Add half of the shaved Brussels sprouts and cook until wilted and starting to brown on the edges.
4. Remove bacon, onions, and sprouts from the Dutch oven and set aside. You’ll see a lot of brown residue on the bottom of the pot– don’t worry about it, it’ll just add flavor to your stock.
5. Add 4 cups of the stock, garlic, and rice. Bring to a simmer over high heat.
6. Cover the pot and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and stir in the remaining raw shaved sprouts. (rice will be stiff– do the best you can, or add a cup of the remaining stock to loosen it up a little) Cover and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and pour in the wine and 1 cup of the remaining stock. Stir vigorously.
9. Add the butter and grated Parmesan, and continue to stir. Keep adding stock (or water, if you run out) and stirring until the risotto is at the consistency you enjoy.
10. Add the bacon, onions, and sprouts to the pot and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
1. The amounts of sprouts and bacon are purely to taste– if you like more vegetables, add more! If you like more bacon, go for it!
2. I have often cut my stock with a little water to avoid overly-salty risotto– you could put in 3 cups of stock and the rest water and still come out all right. There’s enough flavor elsewhere in the dish that you won’t miss it.
3. I ended up using over a cup and a half of extra water after I ran out of stock to add to the risotto after baking, so don’t worry if you use a lot. It’s all personal taste in terms of how loose you like your risotto.
4. This also reheats wonderfully– just make sure you add some extra water after it’s heated so you can stir it and loosen it up again– it does get awfully stiff in the refrigerator.
5. If you’re going to use a mandoline, my best advice is to invest in a fish boning/filleting glove. I was always nicking myself when using my mandoline before, but the plastic guard it came with wasted so much of the vegetable– with this glove I don’t have to worry about slicing my finger open, and I can get right up close to the edge of the blade!