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To make risotto, onions are typically sautéed until translucent before being cooked with raw rice. Here the onions are browned, then stirred into the finished risotto to keep their flavor distinct.Plus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips

March 2003


Credit: © John Kernick

Recipe Summary

35 mins
1 hr 15 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then crumble.

  • In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the onions to a plate. Rinse out the saucepan.

  • Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and keep hot over low heat. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add enough hot stock to cover the rice, about 1 1/2 cups, and stir constantly over moderate heat until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 1 1/2 cups at a time, and cook, stirring, until it has been completely absorbed before adding more. The rice is done when the grains are just tender and the sauce is creamy, about 20 minutes.

  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the onions, bacon, thyme and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls and serve with additional Parmesan.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 up to 4 hours ahead.


This risotto is adapted from a recipe in Open House Cookbook, by Rachel Bay.

Suggested Pairing

This creamy, slightly sweet risotto with smoky, salty bacon pairs best with whites that feature a touch of sweetness and reds that push their fruit ahead of their tannins. Joshua Wesson recommends a Riesling from Germany or a Grenache-Shiraz from Australia's Barossa Valley.