The risotto I was served was made of Basmati Rice. Big, grainy, fried-rice-ish and NOTHING like what I had read.
I decided to rebel.
First Problem: the rice.
To be precise about it.
When you realize that said rice is as expensive as a bar of Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate, and weighs the same, then you wisely buy the Lindt. I did too.
However, luck favored and I got some real Arborio rice. And I realized that I HAD A SOLUTION.
Enter, good quality “Gobindbhog aatop chal” small pearly grains, perfectly creamy and melty when cooked right. I realized my first quest was over.
So late tonight I entered the house and realized I had a very selected choice when it came to food.
I made risotto while singing “Jalebi Bai”/
I am not very sane at present.
Short and simple, this recipe is a gem.
Heat a thick bottomed wok or saucepan on medium high heat and introduce 1 rasher of thick cut bacon, WITH ALL THE FAT ATTACHED TO IT, chopped up fine. If you think that the bacon would not be able to provide enough fat (I am looking at 2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of fat being rendered from the bacon here) then increase the quotient by adding enough butter, or oil if you are a wimp. Swirl, and make sure the bacon is crisp because that is how you render fat to the fullest around my house. Remove Bacon from the pan, reserve all the fat inside, and then add to it 1 teaspoon crushed garlic. I had huge cloves of Chinese garlic so I added 3 cloves, you can bring your favorite stuff to the party.
Within seconds, be prepared to be dazzled by a beautiful fragrance. Add 100 gms chopped button or oyster mushrooms, or a few shiitake mushrooms at this point and fry them for a minute or so.
Add about 3 tablespoon of the rice, washed once very quickly under water and then spread out to be totally dry before the introduction to the hot fat.
At this point you would want to heat 3 cups of water or chicken stock on the other side of the burner because Risotto needs Liquid.
Speaking of liquid, swirl in a swig of white wine if you like. I like. I add.
When the rice has toasted itself a bit (it will take a few minutes) and then soaked itself in some wine, add enough water to submerge everything. Stir vigorously, cover the pan and then put it on simmer. Let it be for about 10 minutes or so, peeking in ever so often to check water level.
When you realize the water levels have gone down, now comes the hard part. Stand in front of the stove and add 1/2 cup of water every time you realize the water has boiled down to nearly nothing and the rice has a chance to stick.
Keep stirring. Do this, till the rice is done to your liking. Adjust salt, pepper and add the bacon.
I ate my bacon while cooking. I had to fry up another rasher to make up for my loss.
Do not try to do that. It is dangerous for the waistline.
You can add some dried rosemary to this party. I did not. I am very minimalist.
I did not add any cheese. However, feel free to stir in some cheese if you like. I recommend Parmesan. Or go the other extreme and throw in some creamy cheese spread.