This delicious and easy risotto is one of our favorite side dishes. You can serve this as a side for a family dinner or an elegant date night dinner. Whatever the case may be, you will not regret making this side dish. It is so good and it is one of my favorites in particular.
This risotto is so easy and so full of flavor that you can serve this as a side for a family or date night dinner of grilled chicken or slice the chicken and add it to the risotto for a more hearty one-dish dinner. Add a side of fresh steamed veggies and you have a delicious dinner for any occasion.
So, let me show you what you will need.
4 cups chicken broth – warmed in a pot on the stove.
2 tbsp parmesan cheese – grated
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion – diced fine
1 cup arborio rice (short grain)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup water
1 cup peas
4 slices bacon – plain and diced
2 tbsp parsley – chopped
1 tsp thyme – chopped
Salt and pepper – to taste
2 tbsp cream cheese or mascarpone cheese – room temp
- Warm the chicken broth in a saucepan over med-low heat. Turn heat to low to keep warm.
- In a cup combine the lemon juice and water and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat add the bacon and cook until the desired doneness. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside. Remove any excess bacon grease. Discard or keep in an airtight container in the fridge. You can use this to flavor any of your future dishes.
- In the same skillet add the olive oil and the onion and cook on medium-low heat until the onions are tender.
- Add the rice and stir until the rice is slightly golden in color. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes depending on how high or low you have your heat.
- Add the lemon water and stir until the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
- Add 1 to 2 ladles full of the chicken broth at a time until the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on how high or low your heat is. * Make sure to let the liquid fully absorb before adding more liquid to the rice. This will ensure that the rice is creamy and cooked throughout. *
- Once the rice is completely tender and cooked throughout add the cream cheese and stir to combine well.
- Add the peas, parsley, bacon, thyme, salt, pepper (to taste), and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine well.
- Check the seasoning and more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve warm.
- If do not like cream cheese you can add the same amount of mascarpone cheese instead. It is equally delicious.
- If you want the consistency to be a bit more creamy, Add in a bit more chicken broth when cooking. The cream cheese can sometimes make this a bit too thick so keep that in mind. Just add about 1/2 cup at a time until you get the desired consistency you like. I like to stop at 4 cups and add more chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time if needed.
- Add a bit of salt to start because parmesan cheese is quite salty. You don’t want to add too much salt in the beginning because you can not take it out later. So add a bit and taste when the rice is done and before serving and adjust from there.
- If you do not want the main flavor of this dish to be “bacon” I would suggest removing the bacon fat and whipping out the pan slightly before adding the olive oil. You want the bacon to complement the risotto not overpower it.
- Top the risotto with more parsley, parmesan, and scallions if you want a pop of fresh flavor and color.
- You can use canned peas if that is all you can find. I recommend using frozen. You can use what you have on hand. Add the drained and rinsed canned peas right before serving and stir to combine well to prevent mushing them into the rice.
- If you do not want to add cream cheese or mascarpone cheese, you can certainly leave it out. It will not have a very creamy texture but will still be a creamy dish. You can also add a bit of heavy cream instead of cream cheese or mascarpone cheese if you prefer.
- If you have bottled lemon juice in your pantry or fridge, you can use that if you can not find or get fresh lemon juice. The taste will be slightly off but it will still be delicious. Bottled lemon juice just does not have that bright flavor as fresh lemons do, however, if you got it use it.