Italian Bacon and Tomato Risotto from KraftRecipes.com creates a quick and satisfying meal or side without the traditional technique of making risotto. It is a great way to get the most out of Florida’s tomato crop. Like the sunny Mediterranean region, Florida has the warm temperatures necessary for cultivating tomatoes, according to the Florida Tomato Committee. The state’s tomato industry is believed to have started in the 1870s. Today, Florida is the nation’s largest producer of fresh tomatoes. With almost every Southern county in the state cultivating tomatoes, Florida produces virtually all the fresh-market, field-grown tomatoes in the United States from October through June each year, and accounts for about 50 percent of all fresh tomatoes produced domestically.
Italian Bacon and Tomato Risotto
Yield: 4 servings, 1 1/3 cups each
8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup 2 percent milk
2 teaspoons freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Saute the bacon, onions, and garlic in a large, deep skillet on medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pan.
2. Stir in the rice, tomatoes, broth, milk, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, or until rice is tender and cooked.
3. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Remove the pan from heat. Let stand, covered, for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle top with the remaining cheese and additional chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Recipe notes: I like to stir in toasted pine nuts or walnut pieces for added flavor and texture. Add a lightly dressed fresh green salad on the side.
SOURCE: Adapted from KraftRecipes.com