This was another one of those meals where the idea was the side dish (the risotto) and I had to find something else to make with it. I decided to pair it with a pork loin as I had one and we had some company coming over. Risotto can be difficult to make (you need to keep stirring) but since this one was baked, it wasn’t too hard. I just had to put it in the oven. The pork loin wasn’t difficult either. The “secret” to a good pork loin is low and slow. Low heat for a long time, long being relative. Normally I would do the pork loin on the grill with indirect heat for 3-4 hours (at least) but this time I decided to just do it in the oven. I took the larger pork loin I had (about 5-6 pounds) and cut it in half. I trimmed some of the extra fat off and put it in a small roasting pan. I covered the top with Penzey’s Bavarian seasoning added some apple juice (I don’t know how much, I just eyeballed it) and covered it. The apple juice will steam as it cooks and with the lid trapping the steam, it helps to keep it moist. I cooked it at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours and then increased the heat to 300 for the last 30 minutes. Normally I wouldn’t do that but the risotto needed to bake at 300.
(recipe taken from Kraft Food and Family magazine, Holiday ’12 issue)
2 slices of bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb Portobello mushrooms, chopped (I used a package of already sliced mushrooms)
1 cup Arborio rice (risotto)
2 cans (14.5 oz each) of chicken broth (about 3 cups worth)
1/8 TSP dried thyme (I left it out as I didn’t have any)
1/4 TSP ground black pepper
2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place a 2 quart casserole dish in the oven to warm it up. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet on medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from the skillet reserving 1 TBSP drippings.
Add onions to drippings in the skillet and cook 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook 10 minutes or until the mushrooms release most of their liquid. Add the rice; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, thyme and pepper. Bring to just a simmer. Remove from heat. Crumble the bacon; stir into the rice mixture. Spoon into the warmed casserole dish and cover.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add cheese; stir until melted.