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posted: 9/18/2013 6:04 AM

Smokey Risotto with Peas

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  • When challenged to make dinner with a bag of frozen peas and $20, Nick Brenkus of West Dundee created Smokey Risotto with Peas.

       When challenged to make dinner with a bag of frozen peas and $20, Nick Brenkus of West Dundee created Smokey Risotto with Peas.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer


½ pound apple wood smoked bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

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¼ cup onions, minced

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other white wine

4 cups unsalted chicken stock

15-20 saffron threads

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Salt to taste

Slice bacon into ½ inch pieces and sauté in large skillet to render fat. Discard fat and set bacon aside.

Using medium heat. Heat olive oil in straight-sided saute pan and saute onions and garlic until clear. Do not brown. Add the rice and saute until coated with oil. Add wine and stir until wine has been absorbed and alcohol is cooked off.

In a large bowl add saffron to stock. Using a 6-ounce ladle, add one ladle of stock to the rice until absorbed and almost dry, stirring constantly.

Add stock one ladle at a time, stirring until rice is tender but firm (al dente). Rice should be very moist and creamy, but not runny. This should take 18-20 minutes.

Stir in bacon, peas, butter and cheese until warm and melted; salt to taste. Serve immediately on platter or bowls. Serve along with the same wine you cooked with.

Serves four.

Cook's note: To thaw peas, place frozen peas in strainer and run under cold water about 1 minute to thaw.

Nick Brenkus

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