Chicken, Bacon & Mushroom Risotto Recipe
Time: 1 hour
Diet: Not suitable for V, Veg or GF diets
Creamy and comforting risotto
Risotto can often be mistaken for being a fussy or high-maintenance dish as it requires a bit of time in the kitchen, but don’t let the frequent stirring put you off giving this delicious Italian staple a go at home. It may be a little more time-consuming, but it’s an easy recipe and absolutely worth the time.
In most risotto recipes, you’ll notice a small amount of white wine on the list of ingredients. This adds both flavour and acidity, but it can easily be missed or swapped for an alcohol-free alternative, especially if you’re thinking of whipping this up for a family dinner with the kids. Alternatively, use a squeeze of lemon juice.
In this recipe, we’ve chosen a classic chicken and mushroom flavour, enhanced with smoky streaky bacon to bring out that ‘comfort food’ feel. But if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and want to impress the famiglia, you could swap the chicken, bacon, and mushrooms for other key ingredients such as pumpkin, chorizo, tomato and mascarpone, or courgette, lemon, and basil – there are plenty of options to cater to all diets.
Time-saving tip: If you don't have much time to dedicate to cooking, why not opt for the easiest risotto you'll ever make with the Casa Rinaldi risotto boxes? With 5 flavours to choose from, each box contains 2 creamy risotto portions and is ready to serve in just 20 minutes!
Top tips for minimum waste
As a great time-saving tip, we recommend giving this dish a go after a Sunday roast if you have any leftover chicken. Risotto is a great way to use the extra meat up and saves a lot of time in the kitchen if you have pre-cooked chicken ready to go!
If you want to make even more of your leftovers, why not use the chicken bones to make homemade stock!
Quick Roast Chicken Stock recipe:
Roast the chicken bones alongside a large onion, a couple of carrots and celery sticks, and a few bay leaves at 200°C for 25 minutes. Then, transfer the caramelised goodies from the tray to a stockpot. Cover with a lid and boil for 30 min-1 hour, or as long as you have got. Lightly season and strain through a colander (if you are not using it for this recipe and want to store it for a couple of days in the fridge). You now have a delicious roast chicken broth that you can use in many different recipes or, of course, in this risotto.
What is risotto?
Originating in northern Italy, risotto is a high-starch, short-grain rice. It’s unique as it is able to absorb a lot of liquid without becoming mushy.
Like pizza or pasta, risotto is an Italian staple food. It’s a rich and warming dish with deep flavours, and it’s very easy to adapt. Common risotto variations include meat, fish, or vegetable-based stock and ingredients, but one of the most popular ways to cook risotto in Italy is quite basic, using parmesan cheese, butter, and onion.
Risotto vs rice
The main difference between risotto and typical white rice is the cooking method. Unlike regular white rice, risotto rice requires constant attention and frequent stirring, Risotto rice is also starchier, which gives it its signature creamy texture.
When cooking risotto, always use hot stock. This will help the rice maintain a high temperature and allow the stock to evaporate, leaving just the flavour and making sure that the rice cooks evenly and quickly.
Arborio vs other risotto rice types
The grain of arborio rice is larger and a little less starchy than other risotto rice, which makes a thicker and softer risotto. It’s also typically more readily available than other Italian rice types, so it tends to be the go-to choice for risotto dishes. Among all Italian rice types, however, carnaroli rice is considered the best and makes the creamiest risotto.
Authentic Italian risotto
To create authentic risotto at home, using the right type of rice is crucial – in this case, arborio rice. It should also be of good quality to ensure great flavour, so the difference between an imported product over a supermarket’s own brand can make or break your homemade risotto. We also recommend using good quality stock to maintain rich flavour.
The Casa Rinaldi Arborio rice gets its name from the town of Vercelli, where it originated in 1946. It is one of the largest grains and creates a soft texture when cooked - ideal for making true risotto and goes perfectly with meats, sauces, and even soups.
Chicken, Bacon & Mushroom Risotto Recipe
85g smoked bacon rashers, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
150g garden peas
150ml dry white wine
1.4l hot chicken stock
140g cooked roast chicken, cut into chunks
50g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
A few handfuls of fresh parsley
White crusty loaf, sliced (optional)
1. Bring your stock up to a simmering boil in a saucepan.
2. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry for 5 minutes. Then, add the onions and cook until the onions are soft and just starting to brown.
3. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir slowly for approximately 5 minutes. Next, add the arborio rice and cook for around 2 minutes.
Top tip: don’t forget to avoid rinsing the risotto rice!
4. Pour in the white wine and leave to absorb into the rice, mushrooms, and onions. Once the wine has evaporated, ladle in a quarter of the chicken stock, and stir frequently until absorbed. Repeat in stages with the remainder of the stock until it has all absorbed into the rice. This should take approximately 20 minutes.
Top tip: You may not need all the stock. Monitor the texture of the rice as you go – it should be creamy but slightly al dente. Be careful not to add too much stock as it can dilute the overall flavour.
5. Stir in the chicken and peas and keep on the heat for a few minutes to heat the chicken through. Remove from the heat and stir through the parmesan and parsley (saving some to garnish).
Top tip: If you like your Risotto really rich, add a little extra butter as well.
6. Cover with a lid and leave for a few minutes for any extra liquid to be absorbed by the rice. Let the risotto stand and relax. These extra few minutes will allow the risotto to soften, texture to improve even further and allow the flavours to merge into total deliciousness.
6. Season with salt and pepper and serve with extra parmesan, fresh parsley, and some warm crusty bread.
In Italy, risotto is traditionally served as a starter, so why not give this risotto recipe a go as a light lunch? If you’re enjoying risotto on a sunny afternoon, a glass of dry, crisp white wine makes the perfect addition!