Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
5 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups risotto and about 1 tablespoon bacon)

Crisp bacon brings crunchy texture and smoky flavor to this creamy rice dish that's packed with three types of mushrooms,  baby spinach, and Asiago cheese.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring Homemade Chicken Stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil); keep warm over low heat.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

Ratings & Reviews

coravd's Review

September 17, 2012
Wow! This is a fantastic recipe! It does take some time to make it correctly, but its worth it! I buy chicken stock from the store rather than making it from scratch to save some time. I also use more bacon that the recipe calls for... yuuummm bacon!

LaraKate's Review

January 25, 2011
This was the first risotto I ever attempted to make and it was fantastic! Even my husband who hates mushrooms and spinach liked it. To save time, we did use box chicken broth and also used only crimini mushrooms (to ease my husband's fear). Will be making this again!

badkitty's Review

August 12, 2013
This is the 3rd time making this. I use Nature's promise chicken stock. The first time, I took the leftovers, formed them into patties, dredged them in panko and sauteed, to use as a side. The second time, I used a Babycakes piemaker and puff pastry to make gourmet hot pockets, and I think that's what I'll do this time. Absolutely a winner. My husband has the most interesting lunches at work, lol. The guys all want to know where he gets these exotic dishes, and are stunned to hear they came from home, via Cooking Light.

EatStylePlay's Review

April 01, 2013
I made this twice, it was so good that I made it for my food blog, linking here of course. I did add more of the Garlic, Shallots and Thyme, and seasons with Black Pepper. I think it was delicious, and I topped them with Seared Scallops and it was great. My family loved it. I've had some bad risotto in my day so i decided to start looking to make my own at home. I also used fresh Parm in addition to the Asiago Cheese.

detailaddict's Review

January 26, 2013
I found this to be just okay...a lot of work for not much flavor. I didn't have enough shallots, but usually onions are not the problem and my husband doesn't care for them anyway. I also had to sub baby bellas for the creminis, 1/2 oz. of the shiitakes and about half the oyster mushrooms, but the total was still about right. I'll probably add more cheese to the leftovers, and I do enjoy the process of making risottos in general, so I'm willing to work with it a bit. But I've had better CL risottos so I won't be in a hurry to make this again.

Grantsmommy's Review

July 13, 2012
Excellent made with short ribs. Made plenty. Used store bought stock sure homemade would be better.

Emanna7's Review

September 14, 2011
My family loves this recipe. We used a tablespoon of dairy-free margarine instead of cheese because my daughter is allergic to dairy. The recipe is a great platform for multiple risotto recipes.

akfishinqueen's Review

August 02, 2011
This was a winner with my family. I didn't have all the ingredients - I used cremini mushrooms, red onion in place of shallots and canned reduced sodium chicken broth. I also added 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar at the end to brighten the flavor. Next time I will skip the madeira and use only white wine, and top with crispy, drained bacon bits to cut back on the calories (instead of using fresh bacon slices and cooking in the bacon fat.)

Zorian's Review

July 26, 2011
When the recipe asked me to add the spinach I was a little worried. The Risotto had such a wonderful mushroom flavor and now I am going to add spinach, and cheese? However the flavors balance out exquisitely. Defiantly one to make again.

karenfar's Review

June 25, 2011
EXCELLENT!! I made a recipe for 2 and it made plenty. I used boxed chicken broth, all cremini mushrooms, and parmesan cheese, great flavor.