Bacon Brown Rice Risotto

Risotto is one of my signature dishes. It is just so flexible with the seasons. In the fall, I love adding pumpkin or butternut squash for an extra-creamy bowl. Peas or asparagus are fantastic in the spring. And in the summer? Sweet corn or roasted sweet peppers provide a fresh and bright dish of risotto.


So when Victoria suggested I make risotto with the bacon that I needed to use up, I wondered “why didn’t I think of that?”

Unfortunately, I also had to wonder how on earth I allowed myself to run out of arborio rice without refilling my bulk container. Since I had just picked up Max from the vet after his neutering, I didn’t want to leave him and run to the co-op to stock up. It was time to get creative!

Let’s call this brown rice risotto a happy accident. Though it doesn’t get nearly as creamy as risotto, I loved the nutty, earthy flavor and slightly chewy texture of the brown rice. Then again, when you toast something in bacon grease as one of the first steps, how could you not like it?


Bacon Brown Rice Risotto

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 1/2 pound bacon (about 5 slices)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups medium grain brown rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped


  1. In a large kettle or covered pot, bring the stock and water to a simmer.
  2. In the meantime, cook the bacon until browned and crispy in a large stockpot over medium heat. Using tongs, remove the bacon from the pan.
  3. Add the onion and rice to the pan and stir to coat with the bacon grease. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the rice begins to toast. Add the wine and stir until it is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  4. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Add the water and stock one-half cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue until the rice is soft and a bit creamy. This may not require all 10 cups of liquid.
  5. Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces. Add the bacon, pepper and butter to the risotto, stirring until the butter is completely melted.
  6. Serve topped with fresh chives.