A red wine risotto is one of my favourite things to make, I love the flavour and colour the red wine brings. This one is flavoured with crisp bacon, rosemary and lots of parmesan of course! It's so so delicious and you can enjoy the time stirring with a wine in hand.
Hello! I made this on my instagram stories and had lots of requests for the recipe so here I am, writing it up. I LOVE risotto, it's one of my favourite things to make and I actually enjoy the time it takes to make.
I feel like it gets a bad reputation for being long and laborious to make but it really shouldn't take much longer than 30 minutes all up. I try and use the time stirring to slow down and unwind from my day.
I first made this so long ago, I'm talking maybe 15 - 20 years and I'm pretty sure it was a Jamie Oliver recipe. One of my strongest food memories is being in Tuscany with my mother and we were strolling round Pisa trying to find somewhere to eat. We wanted to get away from the main tourist streets so we ventured down some side streets and stumbled upon this tiny little restaurant.
No one spoke English but they ushered us inside and after some gesturing and broken Italian we had a red wine risotto placed in front of us with a huge glass of wine. It was heaven, truly. I'll never ever forget it.
Why I love risotto!
I love risotto because it is simple, dependable and versatile. It is essentially just stock and rice so is such a plain (and inexpensive!) base for any kind of flavours you like. It is a great way to clear out the fridge, you can throw any vegetables you have lying around into it.
If you don't want to use red wine, use white! Use any stock you have, any herbs - get creative! Some variations you could make:
- Use white wine, chicken or vegetable stock then add lemon juice and zest for a bright zingy risotto. You could add peas, courgettes or spinach.
- Stir in some caramelised onions and/or leeks plus lots of parmesan at the end. A take on my creamy leek pasta dish!
- Roast some pumpkin to blend up and mix through. I wrote a recipe for a roast pumpkin risotto for QB Cucina that you should definitely check out.
What type of rice is best for risotto?
Rice for risotto needs to be short and starchy, so not just any rice will do. When you make a risotto you need to be constantly stirring, that creates the creaminess. You are essentially stirring and rubbing the starch into the stock, making it thick and delicious.
There are a few different types of rice to make risotto. The main two are carnaroli and arborio. Carnaroli is probably the top choice for chefs, it's easy to work with and super creamy. I use Arborio simply because it is the most widely available and I can always find it at the supermarket.
Bacon - Streaky bacon is generally what I cook with, use whatever you like personally. I like to pan fry it in pieces as the first step in the process.
Rice - I use arborio as it is so widely available at supermarkets.
Stock - I use chicken as that is just what I prefer but you could use vegetable also.
Red wine - I don't think you can go too far wrong with what wine you choose. I tend to use a Pinot Noir, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Buy something you like to drink so you can enjoy the rest when eating! You could use white wine and it would still be delicious.
Rosemary - I think rosemary really compliments all the flavours of this dish perfectly but you could use thyme also.
How to make red wine risotto
- Firstly, fry the bacon in butter until crisp and golden. Set aside.
- Get a pot of stock gently simmering.
- In a big frying pan or casserole dish melt the butter over a medium heat and add oil.
- Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or so, until soft. Don't let it catch, turn the heat down if you need to.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring for a 2 minutes until well coated and starting to go translucent.
- Add the wine and let it reduce, stirring the whole time.
- Then you will start adding a ladle of stock, one at a time letting it absorb before adding the next.
- You need to stir most of the time which is what makes it luscious and creamy.
- It should only take about 20 minutes. The rice should still have a slight bite to it.
- Add the rosemary, butter and parmesan and stir through for the ultimate in creamy deliciousness.
Tips for the best red wine risotto
- Have all your ingredients prepped and ready as you won't be able to step away from the pan once you start cooking!
- Use the right kind of rice, I use arborio.
- Don't wash your rice! You need that starch to make it creamy.
- Have your stock at a really gentle simmer.
- Have the risotto cooking over a gentle heat, it should just be bubbling really gently, never catching on the bottom.
- STIR! It really does need to be stirred pretty constantly. I actually use the time to just chill and be in the moment.
- Let each ladle of stock absorb before adding the next.
- Don't overcook! You don't want it sludgy and soft. The rice should look plump but there should still be a slight bite to the grains.
- I like to add a ½ ladle of stock right before getting ready to serve as I don't like it too rigid on the plate.
The actual cooking part shouldn't take much longer than 25 minutes.
Absolutely! You could use white wine if you don't like red too. It doesn't taste like red wine though. Skip wine altogether and it will still be really delicious.
It sure is! Just make sure the stock you use is GF too (most are). If you need to make it dairy free then skip the butter and parmesan at the end.
Want some more dishes to try?
Check out my recipe section for all my pasta techniques and sauces. This is actually my first non pasta recipe which is so exciting and there will be plenty more to come. If you haven't tried making pasta from scratch definitely give my easy homemade pasta dough a try. It's the best! My favourite pasta sauces to try? If you loved this red wine risotto with the bacony goodness then check out my creamy bacon pasta sauce. My easy cheese sauce with bacon and thyme is crazy delicious too. If you like nduja then make sure you try my fast and delicious creamy nduja pasta sauce.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print