1 cup uncooked Carnaroli or Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1/3 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Bring Homemade Chicken Stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil); keep warm over low heat.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon to pan; cook 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon. Add shallots, oil, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes or until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in Madeira; cook 1 minute or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup stock; cook 4 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with bacon.
Wine note: A light-bodied pinot noir can echo the smoky and earthy flavors of Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach, without overpowering the dish as a bigger red wine might. Redtree Pinot Noir 2008 ($8), from California, shows this grape's aromatic earthiness, along with snappy, tart berry fruit that provides a palate-cleansing contrast to the creamy texture of this dish. —Jeffery Lindenmuth