A few weeks ago, my husband & I went to a very popular burger bar in Chicago. It’s called Kuma’s Corner — maybe you’ve heard of it…?? It’s known for it’s award winning heavy metal themed burgers, loud music and long wait times. The description I just gave doesn’t give it justice — Kuma’s has serious burger street cred. Just google to see the endless reviews and famous guests they’ve served. (It’s Lady Gaga’s favorite burger joint!)
Besides having the best burgers, they’re also known for their “killer mac n’ cheese.” I think the killer comes from how sinfully delicious this little dish can be. It’s very cheesy and you have the option of picking two toppings. I looked right past the calorie content and picked two of my favorite – bacon and caramelized onions. There are no diet options when eating at Kuma’s…or when ordering mac n’ cheese.
Weeks have passed since eating at Kuma’s. And guess what I can’t stop thinking about?? Killer mac n’ cheese. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought making a rich pasta dish using the inspiration from Kuma’s would be a great recipe to share with you. I said last week, there is something about Valentine’s Day which makes me crave Italian food. Mac n’ cheese doesn’t scream romance, but risotto sure does.
I’m not sure what kind of cheese Kuma’s uses for their recipe, so I picked a variety that would go great together. Sharp White Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Cream Cheese and Parmesan Cheese. (FYI – There are no calorie restrictions on special occasions.) The sharpness of the white cheddar could easily stand alone… but by pairing it with monterey jack and cream cheese, the dish is transformed into a creamy and decadent flavor bomb. And of course, by topping the risotto with Parmesan cheese, bacon and caramelized onions, you’ve got a fancy restaurant style meal made in your own home.
Making risotto is a labor of love (and a great arm work-out!). I can’t think of a better way to show someone you care than by making an amazing dinner. This Four Cheese Risotto with Bacon & Caramelized Onions fits the bill. It’s special occasion worthy!
Are you making a special meal or dessert for Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear about it!
- 6 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 6 cups of stock or broth
- Splash of olive oil
- 12 oz arborio rice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine, at room temperature
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
- 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1 tbsp cream cheese
- Pepper, to taste
- Shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- In a large skillet, cook and brown bacon slices. Remove from skillet and place on a paper lined plate. Set aside. Add onions to same skillet and cook in bacon fat. Cook low and slow to caramelize onions. This will take 20-30 minutes. Add a little water if the skillet gets dry. When onions are brown, remove from heat and place on a plate. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan, bring stock or broth to a boil. Lower heat to low and cover with a lid.
- In the same skillet used for bacon and onions, add a splash of olive oil, rice and garlic. Stir until rice turns a light brown. Pour white white in skillet and stir until all liquid is absorbed.
- Using a ladle at a time, pour warmed stock/broth into the rice skillet. Stir until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat this step until rice is cooked to al dente. (can take up to 30 minutes.) If you run out of stock/broth, just add warm water.
- When the risotto is cooked, add cheddar, monterey jack and cream cheese. Stir until the cheese melts and is well combined. Add 1/2 of the onions and bacon to the skillet. Stir into the risotto.
- Taste and add pepper. (you won't need salt, trust me!) Top each serving with shredded Parmesan cheese, bacon pieces and onions. Serve warm.