Risotto is a one of the most common ways rice is enjoyed in Italy, and for good reason. It is a creamy, velvety dish that can be made with a variety of different ingredients to develop layers of flavor. This shiitake mushroom bacon risotto recipe will show you how to infuse the umami taste of shiitake mushrooms, juicy bacon, and zesty lemon to create an irresistible risotto.
Why shiitake mushrooms are the best for risotto
All mushrooms are not the same, let’s get that clear right off the bat. Shiitake mushrooms are meatier than your usual cremini or portobello mushroom. This texture complements the creaminess of risotto, and its flavor carries an earthy, smoky flavor. A maybe even better alternative is dried shiitake mushrooms because they have developed a deeper and richer taste.
If you don’t have access to shiitake mushrooms, a great alternative to shiitake mushrooms are porcini mushrooms. They do have an earthier bite to them, but they are perfect for developing that umami taste in the risotto.
What do you need to make this recipe?
- Arborio rice. Or carnaroli rice.
- Olive oil. Or grapeseed oil.
- Onion. Or shallot.
- Chicken broth. Or vegetable or beef broth.
- Lemon juice. Or white wine.
- Butter. Or oil.
- Garlic. Or garlic powder.
- Bacon. Or pancetta.
- Shiitake mushrooms. Or porcini mushrooms.
- Pecorino romano cheese. Or parmesan cheese.
- Parsley. Or basil.
- Black pepper. Or cayenne powder.
How to make risotto
Risotto is made by slowly cooking Arborio in a flavorful broth. The process starts with sautéing onions and garlic, toasting the rice, deglazing with lemon, and gradually adding warm broth while frequently stirring. As the rice absorbs the broth, it releases starch, creating a rich and creamy texture. The risotto is finished when the rice is tender yet still al dente and has a creamy, velvety consistency.
Why bacon is a necessary ingredient
One word: fat. Fat adds flavor in cooking and it contributes to the mouthfeel of a dish as well as helps stabilize flavors.
The bacon adds a deeper taste to this mushroom risotto recipe, and it balances out the umami flavor with a savory, crispy taste.
Recipes you can make with extra mushrooms
Next time you’re craving risotto, or just want to impress your family with a delicious Italian meal, try making this shiitake mushroom bacon risotto recipe. Let us know how much you liked this recipe in the comments below!
Shiitake Mushroom & Bacon Risotto
- ½ cup arborio rice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 slice bacon diced
- ½ cup shiitake mushroom sliced
- 1 tbsp pecorino romano cheese
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 4 sprigs parsley finely chopped
- ½ tsp black pepper
- In a small saucepan, heat the broth over medium heat and keep it warm.
- In a wide saucepan over medium heat, cook the diced bacon, onion, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir it around to coat it with the bacon and vegetables. Toast the rice for about 2 minutes until it becomes slightly translucent around the edges.
- Pour in the lemon juice and water and stir until it's absorbed by the rice.
- Begin adding the warm broth to the skillet, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently. Allow each ladle of broth to be mostly absorbed by the rice before adding the next one. Keep adding the broth and stirring for about 20 minutes or until the rice is creamy and al dente.
- Stir in the black pepper, pecorino romano, parmesan cheese, and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until the cheese and butter have melted and incorporated into the risotto.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the risotto rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Garnish with the rest of the parsley and enjoy!