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Caramelized Onion Risotto with Bacon

Makes 8 first-course servings

Ingredients

1/2 pound thickly sliced meaty bacon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
8 pouches Savory Choice Chicken Broth Concentrate
2 quarts water
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Note: 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.

Preparation

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and 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 water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the Savory Choice Stick Pouches. 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 broth to cover the rice, about 1 1/2 cups, and stir constantly over moderate heat until the broth has been absorbed. Continue adding broth, 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.