As some of you may know, my roommate and I recently became CSA members. There are many reasons why I believe in community supported agriculture, but one of those reasons is that it forces me to use interesting ingredients that I would never think to buy at the store. In other words, it keeps me creative in the kitchen. With that being said, share #2 included leeks, and while I’ve eaten leeks at restaurants here and there, I’d never cooked with them before. I used BBC’s Good Food Glossary (an awesome resource) to give me the skinny on leeks; said info can be found here.

Anyway, after reading that leeks taste “like a mild onion but with a hint of sweetness” when cooked, I was somehow determined to make a leek-and-something-or-other risotto. I decided that bacon and mushrooms would make a great pairing with the flavor profile described, and given the reactions of my mom and brother, I’d say that my decision was a good one. If you’re into hearty goodness packed with flavor, you’ll probably love this dish, too. Buon appetito!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 pieces bacon
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. grape seed oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk, half & half, or heavy cream (your choice)
  • 2 large leeks, halved lengthwise and chopped
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup Italian cheeses, shredded (my blend included fontina, asiago, and parmesan, but any blend will do)
  • Shaved parmesan

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F; in a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms, onion, garlic, grape seed oil, and lemon juice; on a large baking sheet, place the four pieces of bacon on one side and place the mushroom mixture on the other side; roast in the oven for 10 minutes; when 10 minutes have elapsed, remove the bacon from the baking sheet, stir the mushroom mixture into the bacon fat, and place back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes; give the bacon a rough chop and set aside
  • Meanwhile, combine the leeks, dairy of your choice, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a small sauce pan; cook on high until the mixture begins to boil; once boiling, immediately turn the heat down to its lowest setting and stir often until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes; set aside
  • Next, warm the broth in medium-sized sauce pan; then, combine the rice and wine in a large sauce pan, stirring until almost all of the wine is absorbed, about 1 minute; add 1 cup of broth and stir until almost all of the broth is absorbed, about 1 minute; repeat this process 4 more times, until all of the broth is used
  • When the rice mixture is tender and all of the broth is absorbed, gently stir in the bacon, mushroom mixture, leek mixture, fresh parsley, and Italian cheeses; transfer to a serving bowl and top with shaved parmesan