I had never made risotto before, and I had always been a little intimidated by it. My parents brought me home some carnaroli rice from their trip to Italy last summer, but I didn’t open up the vacuum-sealed package until last week because I was pretending to be on a diet for the wedding. Most recipes that I find call for arborio rice to use in risottos; arborio is a shorter grain, and while still chewy and able to hold up against the moisture well due to its high starch content, carnaroli is a more popular type of rice to use in risotto in Italy. The reason for this is that it has an even higher starch content, giving it an even firmer texture, that not only allows it to hold up extremely well against the liquid while still breaking down enough to be chewy and creamy, but it also has a longer grain and holds it shape better. Carnaroli is a more expensive rice in the United States, so if you can’t find it, arborio is very similar. If you can find carnaroli, though, I highly recommend it, as it called the “King of Rice” for a reason. Risotto itself originated in Northern Italy, where it is served as both a side dish and a main course, depending on what the risotto is made with. Making risotto can take a bit of time and attention, but it’s worth it. The rice is so delicate and creamy when it’s done, you’ll want to make it again and again. The creaminess stems from adding liquid a little bit at a time, so the rice can absorb it slowly become both fluffy and rich.
This particular risotto is unique in that not only does it involve everyone’s favorite meat, bacon, but a well is created in the middle of the piping hot rice and a raw egg yolk is placed in it. When serving, instruct your diners to stir the the yolk into the rest of the dish. The heat will cook the yolk slightly, while creating a beautifully luscious sauce. Egg yolk is, in my opinion, nature’s perfect sauce, after all. I ate this for breakfast this morning with another fried egg. Give it a try!
Dice your onion and saute it with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter while you heat your chicken broth over low heat in other pot until warm.
Add in the bacon and cook over medium-high heat until beginning to crisp, then add in the rice and garlic. Cook the rice for 3 minutes over medium heat, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth, then cook until absorbed, keeping the liquid at a simmer.
Continue to add 1/2 cup of broth, allow to absorb, broth, absorb, broth, absorb, for about 20 minutes in total, until the rice is creamy and fluffy, but still chewy, or al dente.
- 5⅓ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1½ cups carnaroli or arborio rice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 10 strips thick-cut bacon, sliced into ¼ inch strips
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 green onions, sliced thinly
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3-4 egg yolks (raw; they will cook with the heat of the rice - this serves 3 as a meal or 4 as a good-sized side dish)
- In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer over low heat. Reduce the heat to low to keep the broth warm
- Meanwhile, in a 4-quart heavy pot over medium heat, cook the onion in the butter until softened, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add in the bacon and cook until beginning to crisp. Stir in the rice and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or so, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in ½ cup warm broth and continue to cook the rice at a simmer until the broth is absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue adding the broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring often until each ½ cup is absorbed into the rice before adding another ½ cup. Do this until the rice is creamy, but still slightly chewy, or al dente. This should take 18 to 20 minutes (you might have ½ cup or so of leftover broth, depending on a few different variables).
- Stir in the cheese and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I think a good amount of pepper, at least an entire teaspoon, is fantastic, but it's all according to personal taste).
- While the risotto is still very, very hot, divide it among 3 or 4 warmed plates (if you can get them warmed, if not, just work quickly) and make an indentation in each mound of risotto for a yolk. Place a yolk in the center of each mound and serve immediately, instructing your diners to use their forks to mix the yolk in with the rice in order to cook the yolk slightly and make a sauce. Enjoy! Serves 3 as a meal or 4 as a generous side dish
P.S. If you feel like doing a good deed for the day, my good friend over at Totally Morgan is trying to launch a campaign to get Conan O’Brien to be in his student film. If you have a Twitter account, please repost the following on it. Every little bit counts!
“@ConanOBrien since you can’t be on television for seven months, you should fly out to New York and be in @totallymorgan’s student film.”