I’ve been known to get inspiration for recipes in the weirdest places, but I think the story of this recipe takes the cake. The idea for this recipe came after I washed my iPhone in the washing machine. Yes, it was as insane and cringe inducing as it sounds. I was attempting to keep on top of laundry by doing a load of towels immediately after getting out of the bath. And then after my laundry was about 2 minutes into the wash cycle, I remembered I stashed my phone inside a towel to keep it dry. Yep, it’s not lost on me that my trying to be responsible actually caused more damage.
In an attempt to revive it, I employed the well-known rice method. For a week I kept my phone sealed inside a food storage container surrounded by a thick layer of Arborio rice. After glancing at it daily (and trying as hard as could to resist the urge to turn it on) it got me thinking that it had been quite awhile since I’d whipped up a batch of risotto. Not since a batch of Pumpkin, Brie and Prosciutto Risotto I made all the way back in January of 2011.
This time rather than pumpkin I decided to spotlight a different classic fall flavor – apple. Since my kitchen pursuits got off to a slow start after the move I am just now getting around to using up my apple stash, but better late than never. I decided to sauté them with brown sugar and cinnamon. And because I love dish that balances sweet and savory, I paired them with a blue cheese risotto and crumbled bacon. Because I so loved the prosciutto in my last version that a little pork seemed in order. The result was incredibly addictive in addition to bein a quintessentially fall dish. I loved how balancing the blue cheese with the apples and rice really tempers its bite. It’s also very easy to tweak the flavors simply by switching up what kind of blue cheese you used. I had a tub of blue cheese crumbles on hand, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for Bayley Hazen Blue, Grevenbroecker, and Gorgonzola Dolce and pretty much any blue cheese Rogue River Creamery makes. I think they would all work well here.
Adapted from Hungry Bruno
-4-5 cups chicken broth
-4 slices cooked bacon (reserve 1 tablespoon bacon grease)
-1/3 cup chopped onions
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1 ½ cups Arborio rice
-2 tablespoons butter
-4 cooking apples (like Fuji), peeled, cored and chopped into a small dice
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
-Salt and pepper to taste.Method:
In a medium pot, bring the broth to a simmer. (You’re looking to keep it warm, but not to bring it to a boil.
Crumble bacon and set aside.
Heat the bacon grease in a wide, deep sauté pan over medium heat and add the diced onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes, until it begins to soften. Then, add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes until it is lightly toasted. Add the white wine and stir until the wine is evaporated.
Add your first ½ cup of the broth. Stir frequently and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Keep adding the liquid, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly. Continue cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the rice has released its starch and is creamy. If you reach this texture without using all the broth, that is okay. If you use it all, keep going with water in place of broth. You’ll want to taste it to achieve the right texture. You’re looking for the rice to taste al dente and cooked throughout, but not mushy.
While risotto is cooking, prepare the sauteed apples. In a large sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat. When melted, and foam has subsided, add apples and cook until caramelized. Stir in the cinnamon and brown sugar. Remove from heat.
Once risotto has finished cooking, stir in the blue cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with sauteed apples and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.