The rewards of risotto, I believe, are its exercise and its taste. The risotto-making “process” -- of stirring and waiting and stirring -- will stimulate you with the scent of evaporating wine. The “Leek, Bacon, and Pea Risotto,” from the October 2009 issue of Everyday Food, was mischievously “creamy” and delightful. My young child loved it. Remember, the creaminess of risotto results from the starchy quality of arborio rice. You are not delving into a bowl of fat, but only a bowl of glorious flavor.

I used uncured smoked duck bacon, simply because it tastes magnificent. My wine was a 2009 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and I used vegetable-bouillon broth instead of chicken broth. On your stove, you’ll have your big pot of broth, with a ladle within, and your big pot of leeks/bacon/rice/wine, to which you’ll gradually add ladles of broth as you stir, dreamily. I stirred and cooked this risotto for 30 minutes, and definitely included the frozen peas. I seasoned with 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. This is a thoughtful meal, a pleasing meal. Everyone will adore it.

Leeks (2) = $2.63

RECIPE: the rudiments of risotto are easy (it’s Italian, after all, not French), the rewards are great
PREP TIME: sit down to eat in an hour
TASTE: arborio rice retains a firm texture, even after all that stirring; leeks + bacon + wine + Parmesan = a flavor explosion; the creamy mouthfeel makes you eat spoonful after spoonful

Next time, I will cook “Fennel-Dusted Chicken with Brown Butter and Capers,” from the October 2009 issue of Gourmet, along with “Lentils with Cumin and Lemon,” from The Diabetes Snack Munch Nibble Nosh Book, by Ruth Glick. Sound interesting? Come back to my site on Tuesday, April 13, to witness my results.