Sweet Tea Risotto

17 Apr

So, my phone camera does my risotto no justice whatsoever, but here is a pic nonetheless. image


I’ve made a few risottos before, but always from recipes found online. Today, Jonathan and I were trying to decide what to do for lunch, and we had decided on Taco Bell. As the morning progressed, I kept thinking that I just didn’t feel like fast food. I thought of several things I could do, but they all involved going to the store.

So I thought, what I can make with what I have at home? Which made me also think about how I had been pondering how to use the fresh basil left over from the strawberry bruschetta I had made this weekend.


And.. then an idea was born! I would make my VERY OWN risotto. My own recipe. I felt confident that I had the technique down and I felt good about my ability to pair flavors. Being a pseudo southern girl at heart, I chose sweet tea for my flavor liquid, and lemon and basil as complimentary flavors. Then, to avoid a super sweet risotto, I mixed bacon and parmesan cheese to add a more savory note.


So in case you are interested, here is the recipe… 100% my own creation! If you try it, please comment and tell me what you think!!



1.5 c arborio rice

1 cup sweet tea (I used Gold Peak) .. warmed to room temperature (you can microwave it).

3 tbspn salted butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 fresh basil leaves

1/2 lemon

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 onion

1/4 yellow pepper

3 slices bacon

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

The most important thing about risotto is getting your mis en place… which is a french term that means “put in place.” Basically get very organized and get everything measured and ready BEFORE you start! And clear two stove burners and have two medium pots and one small frying pan handy!

Step 1: Chop the onion, pepper, and basil into fine pieces.

Step 2: Chop the bacon into small bits.

Step Three: Grate the cheese

Step 4: In one medium pot, melt the butter, add the olive oil, and then pour in your onions, peppers, and basil and cook until tender.

Step 5: While the veggies are getting soft, in the other pot, start warming the chicken broth and 1/2 cup of the sweet tea. Add a squeeze of lemon juice (not the entire half lemon!) to the broth.

Step 6: Once the veggies are tender, pour in the arborio rice.  Heat the rice until the grains are glossy and mostly see through, stirring frequently.

Step 7:While the rice is glossing, move the chicken broth/tea mixture off of the burner, and put the small pan on. Start frying your bacon bits. Keep the broth handy, though! And keep an eye on the bacon and remove it from the heat as soon as its crispy.

Step 8: As soon as the rice is glossy, pour the other 1/2 cup of sweet tea into the rice, and let the rice absorb the tea.

Step 9 : Once the rice has absorbed the tea, using a soup ladel, ladel in one ladel of the brothy mixture into the rice pot. Stir until its absorbed.

Step 10: Repeat step 9 until the rice is cooked. (So this involves frequent tasting!) You do not necessarily need to use all the broth. Everytime you ladel in broth, it will look mushy and soupy. Add a new ladel of broth whenever it starts to look like rice again.

Step 11:  Stir in the bacon bits and the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Step 12: Finish with lemon zest sprinkled lightly on top.


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