- Estimated Cooking Time: 60 minutes
- Actual Cooking Time: 46 minutes
Let's get this out of the way right now – this is not really a “quick” recipe. I just love risotto. However, it is very easy to make. It just takes some care to prep it properly. If you are rushed for time, your risotto will turn out undercooked and not delicious. If you have multiple pans and about 40 minutes however, you can knock this out faster than the recipe suggests.
The ingredients list is pretty simple: chicken, Italian rice, spinach, cheese, broth, and bacon. Oh yeah, an onion too.
Start by sautéing the onion for a bit. This is simple enough to handle, no?
Add your arborio rice, and stir to brown. I don't know if this is necessary or not, but according to the original recipe as well as other risotto recipes, you should do this. If you're short on time you could probably just dump the rice in and add the broth (see below).
While your rice starts to brown, begin cutting up your bacon. I used turkey bacon because that's what I had on hand. There's less fat and grease, and tastes just as salty-good, especially when chopped up in other things like rice. You can use regular bacon if you want.
I like my bacon burnt and crispy. I know that some folks will balk at burnt food now, but I'm not too concerned about it. Looks tasty to me!
As your bacon is cooking (or after), start adding the chicken broth 1/4 cup by 1/4 cup. Wait for the liquid to absorb completely, then add more. You'll have to do this 4-5 times. This is the part that takes the longest. Again, you may want to just dump it all in and let it simmer, but the recipe says that the rice won't cook properly.
I tend to think that on low enough heat you'll be fine. High heat cooking may cause the outside the overcook, and leave the inside still uncooked, as with pretty much anything else. You can see in this photo below that the hard white center is still visible through the translucent outer kernel.
The rice starts to get thicker and creamier as you cook.
Once the rice is “al dente”, or almost cooked all the way through, you can add the bacon and chicken, then let everything simmer for a few more minutes. If the rice isn't done yet, don't add the goodies yet! We don't want the bacon and chicken to overcook in the meantime. See? Patience is important here.
Start grating your cheese in the meantime.
Add the chopped spinach, and let it sit in the hot rice mixture until the leaves are wilted. Add your cheese, then mix. Then top with more cheese if you want!
This was a superbly delicious, salty, creamy dinner. It wasn't hard to make, but does take at least 45 minutes when done properly. What do you think? Is 45 minutes a quick dinner or no? Don't forget to check out our other recipe reviews and original quick chicken recipes.