serves four as a first course, 2 as an entree
6 thick bacon slice (6 oz. uncooked), cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 cup dry Marsala
3/4 cup minced onion
1 cup Arborio rice
4 to 4 1/2 cups hot chicken broth
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
coarse (Kosher) salt and freshly ground pepper
In a medium heavy skillet, cook the bacon pieces over low to medium-low heat, turning as needed to achieve uniform crispness. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain. Pour off all the bacon drippings, reserving 2 tablespoons in a bowl. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
Set the skillet over medium-high to high heat, pour in 1/2 cup of the Marsala, and deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Set aside.
In a 2- to 2 1/2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the reserved drippings over medium heat, add the onion, and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and increase the heat to medium-high. Stir vigorously until the kernels are translucent and you see "the eye" at the tip of the kernel. (Do not let the rice brown).
Add the remaining 1/2 cup Marsala to the rice mixture, stirring the rice away from the bottom and sides until the liquid is evaporated. Add the hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice does not stick or burn. After you've used half to three-fourths of the broth, stir in the reduced Marsala and half the crumbled bacon. Add the remaining broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly.
Taste the rice after 20 minutes. It should be tender but firm to the bite, and the mixture slightly moist and porridgelike. If it's not tender enough, continue to cook and taste again in 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mound the risotto into warmed shallow bowls, top with the remaining crumbled bacon, and serve steaming hot.
bacon recipe source: Everything Tastes Better with Bacon by Sara Perry, p. 61 (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2002)